LEBEC (CBSLA) – Caltrans crews worked frantically Monday morning to fully reopen the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine after it was shut down for hours Sunday night, leaving thousands of drivers stranded.
The freeway through the Tejon Pass was shut down in both directions at around 6 p.m. Sunday due to several collisions caused by snow. Just before midnight, the southbound side was reopened, with California Highway Patrol running escorts Sunday due to several collisions caused by snow. Just before midnight, the southbound side was reopened.
However, the northbound lanes were not reopened until around 11 a.m. Monday due to icy conditions, leaving traffic backed up for miles. During the closure, drivers were diverted off the freeway at Parker Road in Castaic.
Area hotels in and around Lebec Sunday night quickly filled up to capacity with stranded travelers, including CBS2’s own Jeff Nguyen. Those that weren’t able to get hotel rooms were forced to sleep in their vehicles.
“It’s pretty gnarly out here,” Nguyen reported. “Things are going sideways. The snow will hit you in the eye and it’s really stinging.”
A group of boys from the Avenal Boxing Club in Central California got stuck on their way home from a boxing tournament.
“Well, we came down to Sylmar for a boxing show, and unfortunately we got stranded going back home,” their boxing coach told CBS2.
The National Weather Service reports that up to 4 inches of snow fell in the Grapevine Sunday.
Complicating the situation, the 138 Freeway was shut down in both directions at Quail Lake Road Monday, just east of the 5 Freeway near Gorman, due to a crash. The eastbound lanes were reopened just before noon.
Meanwhile, hundreds of drivers got trapped on Highway 38 overnight Sunday in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear due to the icy conditions. There were no reports of any serious injuries.