News Alert: Grapevine Open

UPDATE: LEBEC (Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, 6:45 a.m.)—The grapevine is open. At the 166 junction, just west of the I-5 a load of dirt obstructs the roadway, reported at 6:30 a.m.

UPDATE: LEBEC (Thursday, Jan. 21 2010, 4:20 p.m.)—Cars are being assembled to be escorted across the Grapevine. This is the CHP report for 4:17 p.m.: COORDINATION CENTER IS ASSEMBLING 300-400 VEHICLES FOR ESCORT FOR SOUTH BOUND SIDE

UPDATE: LEBEC (Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, 12:01 p.m.)—The I-5 is still closed due to snow southbound at Laval Road and northbound at Newhall. CHP expects this to be a long term delay because snow plows are helping but not enough to ensure safe travel.

We will provide additional updates as they are available. Call 245-NEWS (245-6397) if you have breaking news to report. Call (800) 427-ROAD (7623) for the latest roadway conditions.

UPDATE: LEBEC (Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, 10:03 a.m.)—The Grapevine has been closed in both directions due to heavy snow according to California Highway Patrol Fort Tejon office.

UPDATE: LEBEC (Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, 6:15 a.m.)—The Grapevine is open. CHP is running "round robins" to slow traffic. Drive cautiously. Remember to maintain a full gas tank in case there are delays required in mountainous areas.

UPDATE: LEBEC and PINE MOUNTAIN (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, 6 p.m.)—Escorts are beginning to be conducted across the Grapevine according to California Highway Patrol

Westbound traffic backed up at the Mil Potrero Highway "Y" is now beginning to flow, ending a 90 minute (or longer) blockade due to adverse weather conditions and a county truck that blocked the road.

UPDATE: PINE MOUNTAIN (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, 5:50 p.m.)—The Grapevine remains closed. Meanwhile, over at the Mil Potrero Highway "Y" into Pine Mountain, "Send sandwiches," is the laughing lament of motorists still stuck as dark falls and the temperature drops. Three Edison trucks have just been allowed to exit eastbound coming out of Pine Mountain, but no cars are being allowed to enter going westbound.

"We were told by a man with a radio that they were getting a grader in to widen the road," Carlos "David" Cordova said five minutes ago. He said he has a blanket and water. Most motorists are now keeping their engines runnig to stay warm. That is a reminder that it is wise to fill fuel tanks before advancing into the mountains, especially in adverse weather conditions.

We will provide additional updates as they are available. Call 245-NEWS (245-6397) if you have breaking news to report.

UPDATE: PINE MOUNTAIN (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, 5:36 p.m.)—Mil Potrero is still blocked to wesbound traffic trying to enter the S curves. "I have high blood pressure and need to get home to my meds," Cordova said, when asked if he was going to turn around and head back down to Cuddy Valley. Cordova lives in Pine Mountain.

Pine Mountain Patrol told Pine Mountain Clubhouse personnel that they have "run up the road to check" but county personnel who are plowing are not providing any information about when the road will be opened.

Call 245-NEWS (245-6397) if you have breaking news to report.

UPDATE: LEBEC (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, 5:25 p.m.)—The Grapevine remains closed from Highway 126 through the mountain regions. High winds in the area make driving of trucks and RVs dangerous, according to the Cal Trans road status line (1-800-427-7623). Mountain residents who are properly equipped with four wheel drive and studded tires or chains may be allowed to pass to get home.

UPDATE: PINE MOUNTAIN (Wednesday, Jan. 20 5:07 p.m.)—Carlos "David" Cordova of Pine Mountain reports from the Mil Potrero "Y" that his vehicle and about 20 others are still being blocked by a county vehicle. However, a PMC Security jeep has come up Mil Potrero to the "Y", then turned around and descended the curves, apparently illustrating that the road is partially cleaered, Cordova said. A couple of commercial vehicles have also emerged from Mil Potrero Highway, traveling east. "They seem to be able to come out, but we don’t seem to be able to just go home," Cordova said.

UPDATE (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 4:38 p.m.)—Carlos "David" Cordova of Pine Mountain has called from the Mil Potrero "Y" to report that two large county vehicles, one a snow plow, have removed the incapacitated county truck from the narrow mountain road. Cordova said the plow is proceeding toward Pine Mountain to open the road for commuters. He said there are more than 10 cars backed up right at the "Y" and "the line goes down into Cuddy Valley, but I can’t see around the curve." We will provide an update as soon as the road has opened.

UPDATE (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 4:28 p.m.)—The Grapevine is still closed, but mountain residents equipped with four-wheel-drive and studded tires or chains may be allowed to enter the I-5 to get home. The Mil Potrero Highway into Pine Mountain has been blocked by an incapacitated county plow which has slipped sideways and blocked the road. Residents have been waiting at the "Y" for about 30 minutes. There are reports of two county vehicles arriving to attempt to clear the road. We will provide an update as soon as more information is available.

UPDATE (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 1:02 p.m.)—At 1:04 p.m. California Highway Patrol Fort Tejon office confirmed that the I-5 is closed due to heavy snow. The closure is from Grapevine Road to Vista del Lago Road for an undetermined amount of time as the snow is still coming down and sticking to the roadway. The public is advised to expect delays and to call (800) 427-ROAD (7623) for the latest roadway conditions.

UPDATE: FRAZIER PARK (Wednesday, Jan. 20, 10:20 a.m.)—According to California Highway Patrol’s Officer Etchebarne, the Grapevine is currently open and cars "are not being paced. Yet."

Check back often for further updates as weather and road conditions are rapidly deteriorating. Winter storm warnings for heavy snow and high winds over the Southern Sierra and Kern County Mountains are in effect until 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21.

UPDATE (Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010; 1:54 p.m.)—California Highway Patrol is no longer pacing cars over the Grapevine and all lanes are open. Drivers are still cautioned to drive at slower speeds and increase the distance between themselves and other cars.

UPDATE (Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010; 1:20 p.m.)—California Highway Patrol is pacing cars over the Grapevine due to sticking snow and slippery conditions. Drivers are cautioned to drive at slower speeds and increase the distance between themselves and other cars.

FRAZIER PARK (Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010; 12:30 p.m.)—All schools in the El Tejon Unified School District closed at 12:15 today due to snow and road conditions, according to Audrey Weingarten at the District’s Ft. Tejon office. Parents should call the school district office for further information: 248-6247.

This is part of the January 15, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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