Tag Archives: winter travel

Cold Winter Storm Impacts Travel in Northern California

The California Department of Transportation is alerting motorists to be prepared for winter driving conditions as an intense cold storm is underway for the Northern California area.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning for a weather system expected to continue through Friday morning. Episodes of heavy rainfall are expected in the northern Sacramento Valley turning to snow above 3,000 feet as the cold storm moves into the Sierra. Lake Tahoe locations are also expecting significant snow accumulations.

This storm will result in winter driving conditions throughout the area, including areas of localized flooding. Strong winds are also forecast, creating low visibility from white-out conditions in the higher elevations. As winds and rain diminish, fog is expected to occur in Valley locations.

Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit and on other Sierra mountain roadways should be anticipated Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning. Caltrans permitted and trained chain installers on Interstate 80 can be identified by a reflective sign with their bib number.

Severe weather may slow motorists, resulting in roadway congestion. Wet and slippery roadways reduce tire traction, especially at high vehicle speeds. Hydroplaning caused by vehicle speed and rain accumulations on the roadway can result in loss of driver control. Motorists are encouraged to slow down.

ANTICIPATE DELAYS AND CLOSURES

  • Understand that winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and allow for extra travel time.
  • Make sure you share the route you intend to take with friends or family.
  • Exercise patience and respect for other motorists.

Caltrans crews will be working around the clock to keep the roadways open and clear. Motorists are urged to be “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.”


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Washington State DOT: Smooth Holiday Travel Requires Planning, Patience

No matter what your holiday plans, being prepared for winter conditions and holiday traffic will help make your trip smoother. The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all travelers to “know before you go” and plan ahead for smoother travel.

Three-day Christmas weekends are rare – the last one on a Monday was in 2006. Washington State DOT traffic analysts warn that winter weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for snow and ice no matter where you travel and know that a sudden snowstorm can affect the travel time projections.

Holiday Travel Suggestions:

  • Pre-program 530 AM and 1610 AM to vehicle radios for highway advisory radio alerts.
  • Carry chains and other winter driving essentials.
  • Check current chain and traction requirements on the WSDOT passes website or by calling 5-1-1, and watch for highway advisory signs.
  • Leave extra time for holiday and winter travel, slow down and drive appropriately for conditions. Often crashes or pass closures are due to drivers going too fast or traveling without proper equipment.

Mountain Passes
In the mountains, State Route 123 Cayuse Pass (elevation 4,675 feet), State Route 20 North Cascades Highway (elevation 5,477 feet) and Chinook Pass (elevation 5,430 feet) are closed for the winter. On Snoqualmie Pass (elevation 3,022), you can receive text alerts for pass delays 30 minutes or longer – text “wsdot snoqualmie” to 468311 to subscribe, and “wsdot stop” to unsubscribe.

Tolls
In the Puget Sound, the State Route 520 bridge will have weekend toll rates on Monday, Dec. 25. Travel is free on the Interstate 405 express toll lanes on Christmas day, returning to normal toll and HOV requirements from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 26. I-405 express toll lanes are always free on weekends and evenings. Out-of-town travelers can learn about toll roads and short-term account options on the Good to Go! visitors page. If renting a vehicle, check with the rental agency about their tolls policy and fees.


On the road? Why not take us with you. Our websites are mobile-friendly! Visit our growing family of exit guides:  I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit along the way!