5 Freeway reopens through Grapevine after more than 36-hour closure, icy conditions may return

BySid Garcia and ABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Friday, December 27, 2019
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The 5 Freeway reopened late Friday morning, more than 36 hours after a major snowstorm on Christmas Day caused dangerous driving conditions through the Grapevine.

CANYON COUNTRY, Calif (KABC) -- The 5 Freeway reopened late Friday morning, more than 36 hours after a major snowstorm caused dangerous driving conditions through the Grapevine.

California Highway Patrol officers began escorting drivers on the major thoroughfare around 10:45 a.m. after a closure between Parker Road in Castaic and Grapevine Road in Kern County, according to Caltrans. The California Highway Patrol said icy conditions on the roadway prompted the closure.

Many drivers were seen sleeping in their car overnight near an entrance to the freeway.

The 15 Freeway through the Cajon Pass reopened Thursday afternoon, several hours after closing amid heavy snowfall and treacherous road conditions.

However, the 15 was closed in both directions from Baker to Primm due to car wrecks and ice on the roads, Caltrans said. Authorities are urging drivers to use extreme caution as the roads will likely remain icy.

Hundreds of travelers were stranded for hours at the Cajon Pass in the Mojave Desert as a result of snowy conditions.

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The storm stopped drivers in their tracks on Christmas Day, with dozens of cars covered in snow along the 5 Freeway.

"It's awesome, it's beautiful out here. But you don't want to be stuck like the way I was stuck," said one man who was traveling from Los Angeles to Bakersfield.

A driver was found dead inside a big rig on the 5 Freeway through the Grapevine, according to the California Highway Patrol. A cause of death has not been determined.

RELATED: Big rig driver found dead on 5 Freeway through Grapevine

Drivers heading to the mountains are being warned to take precautions and expect hazardous road conditions. Caltrans is telling drivers heading to the mountains to bring chains.

This is already the second big storm of the season for the region - and the last one was also on a holiday.

Last month's Thanksgiving storm dropped nearly four feet of snow on the Big Bear area - the heaviest snowfall to hit in November for more than 50 years. It closed roads throughout the region and knocked out power to thousands of customers. The snow and wind were so strong even the ski resorts closed.

As of Friday evening, traffic was moving steadily on the 5 Freeway, but if snow melts, icy conditions could shut it down again.

Another storm is expected to bring rain to Southern California on Monday.

City News Service contributed to this story.