Local

Truck drivers racing against the clock after Grapevine closure

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good news for anyone with plans to drive to Southern California Wednesday evening. Traffic on I5 over the Grapevine is back to normal.

After being closed for much of the morning in both directions, due to snow, the California Highway Patrol reopened the roadway, just before 11:00 a.m.

However, they do urge drivers to be careful because of gusty winds and wet roads.

The early morning snow on the Grapevine shut down I5, cutting off the Central Valley from Southern California and left lots of truckers idling on the shoulder.

"For how long, I don't know," said Eric Small. "So pretty much stuck here until they reopen it."

Truck driver Eric Small was headed out of the Central Valley to Kentucky when he was forced to stop. He says commuting with such a heavy load in bad weather can be dangerous.

Small explained, "Especially if you're climbing a mountain, when you're descending, you don't have any traction and you can easily, once these trucks go to slide, you're just at the mercy of it."

Many truck drivers stopped at Love's Truck Stop to wait for the time to pass and the roads to reopen. Some drivers didn't know about the closure until they stopped to fill up and saw the rows of trucks.

"Was unaware of the closures until about 35 minutes ago and found out that not only had the 5 been closed, but the 58 as well," said Viccy Murray. "Now I'm simply going to be looking for some place to park and wait it out."

Murray has been driving trucks for two decades. She says with I5 and state route 58 closed, she's losing more than time. "I would prefer to be rolling because when I am sitting still I'm not making any money."

While some drivers may feel the pressure to keep on trucking, no load is worth their life.

"It's safety first out here," said Small. "I'm pretty sure a lot of customers be like well, we don't have any control over mother nature."

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