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Heavy traffic on Highway 101 after Grapevine closure

Traffic is picking up, which is normal on a Friday evening. However, you can expect to see more semi-trucks and overall, more vehicles on Highway 101 because of the Grapevine closure.
Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 24, 2023

Interstate 5 through the Tejon Pass, also known as the Grapevine, was closed for at least 13 hours on Friday because of snow, forcing drivers to take other routes to reach their destinations.

Caltrans District 7 announced the reopening of the Grapevine at 5:36 p.m.

Throughout the day, drivers on Central Coast highways noticed an influx of vehicles.

“Because of the weather, I just want to go home," said Christina Reyes, who stopped for gas in San Luis Obispo on her way to Sacramento.

The Grapevine looked like a winter wonderland on Friday.

Caltrans District 7 posted photos showing how Interstate 5 was a traffic hazard and how their trucks were scooping up the snow.

Drivers were forced to take different routes, including Highway 101 through San Luis Obispo.

“We would normally have taken highway 5 home,” Reyes said. “I live in the Sacramento area and so because it's closed, we chose to obviously detour way back just in case. ”

A detour that added more hours to the average travel time.

“We were supposed to take the Grapevine, which is about what, only five hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco,” explained Gilbert Siongco, who took Highway 101 as a detour. “I’m taking the longer route, much safer though.”

Locals also picked up on the change of pace on Highway 101.

“Just a ton more traffic coming. I was coming from Costco area to here and then the potholes, just huge potholes,” said Janice Barkmann, who lives on the Central Coast.

Despite not liking to drive under rainy conditions, Jenice Twomey said she took the highway to go to church.

“It's like a waterfall ends up at the top of the summit of the Cuesta Grade," described Twomey. “It was a little scary because the big trucks go down and then fast lane cars go whizzing by and the water sprays up and kicks up, so it's not good visibility. ”

With the Grapevine closed, Highway 101 was one of the main detours.

“We can just expect quite a bit more traffic going through the area, a little bit more commercial vehicles are going to be driving through as well,” said Officer Miguel Alvarez, California Highway Patrol.

CHP officers are on call, especially under these conditions.

“We're definitely expecting quite a bit of calls for service. With the inclement weather, it always tends to happen,” Alvarez added.

The number one recommendation is to slow down.

“Give yourself plenty of time, checking your tires, checking your brakes, making sure your car is in good working order and just giving yourself a good space cushion between you and the car,” Alvarez recommended.