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Highway 41 closure causes major traffic delays for travelers

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Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 05, 2023

A full closure of Highway 41 near Cholame for a paving project caused anyone traveling the highway Wednesday to take an alternate route around the usually busy section of roadway.

Bumper to bumper, drivers inched their way through traffic just before the detour. Highway 41 is a main thoroughfare for thousands traveling between the Central Valley and the Central Coast.

"Traffic today coming from Morro Bay — we were stopped for probably an hour, maybe moving like 20 feet or so every 15 to 20 minutes," said Bryan Milligan, a Central Valley resident.

Highway 41 was closed in both directions from the 41/46 intersection to Reef City. Drivers were detoured via Highways 33 and 46.

"Roughly one year ago, we had a similar closure that shut down the highway and paved the northbound direction of Highway 41. Today, we are doing the southbound direction of Highway 41. Beyond this, we have another project in a couple of months where we will be paving both directions of the 41 from mile marker 45 to the Kern County line," explained Alexa Bertola, Caltrans spokesperson.

The 11-hour closure was in place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The traffic backup caused aggravation for some drivers, like Becky Garcia who was trying to get home for the upcoming holiday.

"It's just so frustrating that the powers to be, they're so intelligent that they can't figure this out," Garcia said.

Those who avoided the northbound backup saw slightly better driving conditions from the south but still couldn’t avoid the additional drive time.

"I was coming through Modesto and as I came up to the 41 it, of course, told me I had a detour coming up, so it took me all around a mountain to an area I've never been through but I came down back to Highway 41 and it was only about a five-minute stand still for me," said Shauna Agee, a local traveler.

The highway will reopen at 6 p.m. Wednesday and traffic routes will be back to normal after that.

The paving project that caused the closure was handled by Caltrans' Templeton and Shandon maintenance crews which filled potholes to make for a smoother drive.