5 Freeway through the Grapevine reopens, CHP escorting traffic after closure

Wednesday, March 1, 2023
5 Freeway through the Grapevine reopens, CHP escorting traffic
The 5 Freeway through the Grapevine has been reopened, but with CHP officers escorting motorists through the snowy area.

The California Highway Patrol began escorting traffic on the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine Wednesday afternoon after heavy snow and ice forced its closure earlier in the day.

CHP announced the closure for north and southbound lanes shortly after 6 a.m. due to the unsafe and near white-out conditions. The agency announced just after 3:30 p.m. that CHP was escorting motorists.

The heaviest snow fell by 9 a.m.

The closure stranded some people in Lebec, including one truck driver from Riverside.

"I'm just not able to make it back home... It kind of sucks but I understand. You can't control the weather," said Hiram Montoya.

A winter storm warning from the National Weather Service is in effect for mountain areas until 10 p.m. Wednesday.

"When things are very unsafe and cars are slipping and sliding and getting stuck, then we have to definitely shut things down," said CHP officer D.C. Williams.

Snow plows earlier in the day were working to clear the road.

"Making sure the majority of the snow and ice is off the road, getting sand down on there so that way the tires can get traction."

After that sand goes down, CHP says escorting vehicles through at a slow pace helps heat up the roadways before they fully open the Grapevine.

"In the 10 years I've been up here, I don't think we've closed it like this, back to back," Williams added, referring to another closure prompted by a storm last week.