Storm Causes Problems for Travelers

December 22, 2008 2:05:25 PM PST
From Southern Fresno County all the way to the Grapevine, drivers are dealing with road closuresGrapevine is still closed this Thursday morning. It's iced over. One alternate route, Highway 41 is closed at State Route 33 due to snow and near Huron; Highway 269 near Highway 198 is still closed due to an overflowing creek.

A rush of water flowed over Highway 269 flooding the road just north of Huron. Caltrans says that's actually pretty common; the road has flooded eight out of the past ten years.

But highway patrol officers had bigger worries Wednesday night. "I think we're getting a little bit of residual traffic from the grapevine trying to sneak this way. And you know, unable to do so" said Chris Webber with the CHP.

All over the western parts of the Valley water covered major roads. Drivers found even their detours required detours.

People trying to avoid the Grapevine tried Highway 41 only to find the road blocked because of snow. At least two dozen travelers got stranded for more than two hours trying to get through.

Stranded Driver Frank Giannico said, "Lot of snow, lots of trucks stopped. Um, some utility trucks going up, nothing coming back and then everybody just starting turning around and coming back out."

Trucks filled this Madera travel center overnight, spilling onto nearby roads. It was the same case at this truck stop in Bakersfield.

Instead of taking a chance of being stopped at the Grapevine and not finding a spot to park, many truck drivers chose to stay in the Central Valley. "Usually I can get in here no problems but tonight with 5 being closed it was pretty hard, I just got real lucky. Um, it's packed" said truck driver Don Merliss.

But others, took their chances and kept heading to the Los Angeles area. "I'm supposed to be there by 6 in the morning. It's not gonna happen" said truck driver Tom Ziska.

If you need to get to Southern California, one possible alternate is 99 South to 46 West to 101 South. But it's a long, indirect detour so some are just choosing to wait it out. The CHP says there's no telling when the closed roads will reopen.


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