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I-5 through the Grapevine reopened

January 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Interstate 5 along the Grapevine has reopened to all traffic.The road had been closed for nearly a day and a half because of snow and ice.

It snowed heavily along the Grapevine overnight, but road conditions had improved enough that by 7 a.m. the California Highway Patrol started running escorts.

Shortly after 8 a.m. the CHP completely reopened the I-5 through the Grapevine in both directions without escorts.

With more snow in the forecast, this could change at any moment.

Drivers had to deal with heavy rain and strong winds Friday morning.

William Orem, who was stranded due to the storm, was happy to give up his hotel room to resume his road trip.

"I had to spend the night at the Hampton Inn. I'm crossing my fingers that the roads will be open a little better. This looks a lot happier than I thought it would. I am ready to head back to Fresno. I've got to fill up and I've got my Red Bull. Hopefully it is going to go quick," said Orem.

After two days of being stuck in Frazier Park Damon Drew is finally able to go home.

"I live in Laguna Niguel. I've been stuck here for two days and this was not on the travel brochure. You see all kinds of things," said Drew.

Like dozens of others Drew has had to stay at a local hotel in Frazier Park.

"We had to sleep on the floor in the hallway here because they were sold out. There must have been twenty couples. I walked into the coffee room the next morning and everybody was kind of jittery and I went 'Donner party of two' and it kind of broke everybody up. You live through it," said Drew.

It was on Wednesday that the Highway Patrol shut down the Grapevine due to heavy snow. Many stranded drivers had to spend the night in their cars.

Two days later the I-5 was reopened and that was good news for the locals.

"We have people sleeping at the restaurant, eating at the restaurant. We are doing the best we can because we get food back today. The I-5 is going to bring us back our food," said Julie Budreaux, a restaurant manager.

For the locals many of them had to get out the shovel and clear the snow out of their driveways.

"I have been shoveling since 7 o'clock this morning. I shovel a little bit and then I go into my house. Then I shovel a little bit more and then go right back into the house,"said Margo Fuchs, Frazier Park resident.

Margo Fuchs says that she has not seen this kind of snow in Frazier Park in years.

Now that the Grapevine is open she is looking forward to her husband coming home.

"He is in Lancaster poor guy. He is going to try to make it home tonight. He has been gone since Tuesday. He left for work at about noon on Tuesday and that was it. That is why I got the shovel out so he could get the Jeep in the driveway," said Fuchs.

Friday morning heavy rain and wind gusts blew through the Grapevine.

Officials say that the highway maybe back open now, but the dangers still exist.

Northbound travelers wanting to avoid the Grapevine can take the northbound 5 Freeway to the northbound 14 Freeway onto westbound Highway 58 and then back to the northbound Golden State. Motorists can also drive along Pacific Coast Highway as an alternative.

Eyewitness News reporters Subha Ravindhran and Leo Stallworth contributed to this report.


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