January 20, 2021
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The California Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol are working together on a new effort dubbed “Operation Snowflake” that enhances protection for motorists when heavy snow limits or blocks use of the Interstate 5 corridor in northern Los Angeles County that passes through the 4,144-foot Tejon Pass summit; a section of highway known as the “Grapevine” that carriers average daily traffic of 83,000 vehicles.

That new effort centers on a median gate installed last year that can swing open on I-5 at Castaic in Los Angeles County to turn around northbound motorists to southbound lanes. If forecasters predict heavy snow will drop to 4,500 feet or lower, Caltrans said in a statement that it coordinates with the CHP to activate an alert system that calls for maintenance crews to work around-the-clock to keep the highway open and determine if the highway needs to be closed.

If a closure is ordered, Caltrans blocks off the northbound I-5 lanes at Lake Hughes Road at Castaic and the southbound I-5 lanes at Grapevine Road in Kern County by lowering the gate

editor@aashto.org

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