LOS ANGELES (CBS / AP) — One of the main highway links between Northern and Southern California reopened Friday morning, 36 hours after a major storm on Christmas closed the Grapevine section of Interstate 5.
As of 10:45 a.m. Friday, Caltrans announced the freeway was reopened, with CHP escorting traffic over the Tejon Pass. The road had been closed since about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, after drivers became stuck on the mountainous freeway between Bakersfield and Los Angeles.
GRAPEVINE: I-5 is now OPEN with CHP escorting traffic over the pass. Please drive carefully and follow the lead CHP vehicle at a safe speed and distance. pic.twitter.com/D7OQi8xhji
— Caltrans District 6 (@CaltransDist6) December 27, 2019
The closure added many hours to the already long journey between the Bay Area and Southern California, with coastal Highway 101 becoming the primary route to cross the state.
In the inland region to the east, the Cajon Pass section of Interstate 15 reopened after being closed for many hours. The major route for travel between greater Los Angeles and Las Vegas also reopened in the Mojave Desert after a lengthy shutdown between Baker, California, and Primm, Nevada.
Adding to the traffic misery, accidents caused massive morning backups on icy State Route 14, a major commuter route between Los Angeles and high desert cities in the snow-blanketed Antelope Valley. Other high desert routes had similar problems.
I-5 rises to more than 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) in Tejon Pass between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, making it susceptible to storm closures, especially on the steep section known as the Grapevine.
Cajon Pass rises to more than 3,700 feet (1,128 meters) between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains on I-15, which also carries commuter traffic in addition to people traveling between southern Nevada and Southern California’s cities.
The National Weather Service said the cold low pressure system that brought heavy rain and snow to Southern California was over Arizona on Friday and continuing to move east.
Moisture wrapping around the low continued to bring some snow showers in the mountains but that was expected to end.
Dry and warmer weather was expected through most of the weekend. Another cold, low-pressure system was forecast to bring precipitation late Sunday through Monday before a drying trend sets in on New Year’s Eve.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.