Winter Storms Strike State’s Transportation Infrastructure

Photo courtesy of Caldrons

Photo courtesy of Caltrans

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–Caltrans crews are working 24/7 on numerous state routes in California to repair roadways impacted by recent storms and unstable soil.

“Our roadways have been pounded this winter by the severe weather conditions,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Crews are mobilized across the state removing debris, repairing road damage, performing traffic control and assessing ongoing risks. As we work to reopen many of our roadways, we are also preparing for the next wave of storms. We will continue to work around the clock.”

Every region in California has been affected by the winter storms, and thus far, there has been an estimated $401 million in storm damage to the state highway system at 190 locations.

Meteorologists are predicting storm systems to impact California beginning Thursday and by Monday, the state may receive three to eight inches of rainfall, and snow levels could drop as low as 5,000 feet in Northern California.

Crews are currently working to restore full access to the following roadways; however, an estimated time of is unavailable due to the incoming storm:

  • Westbound Interstate 80 is closed at the Nevada State line due to a landslide.
  • U.S. Highway 50 in El Dorado County is closed from Pollock Pines to Strawberry for about 20 miles due to multiple active mudslides. The first slides occurred Feb. 10 and were cleared but several other slides have occurred. Caltrans has five large excavators, four loaders, 25 semi-trucks, one paver and one grinder working to clear the roads. Crews are hoping to have U.S. Highway 50 open by Feb. 16.
  • State Route 1 near Leggett in Mendocino County has been closed since Feb. 3 due to an active slide. Cleanup to reopen the highway has been slow due to the instability of the slide and concern for worker safety.
  • Northbound State Route 17 at Sugarloaf Road in Santa Cruz County is closed due to a mudslide.
  • Crews are working to restore State Route 37 between U.S. Highway 101 and Atherton Avenue in Marin County.

The recent storms have also affected rail and freight movement; below are a few of the major routes affected:

  • Union Pacific Fresno Sub South of Elk Grove is out of service due to derailment on Feb. 10.
  • Union Pacific Sub above Oroville is out of service due to washouts, rockslides and flooding.
  • Heavier than usual freight traffic over the Martinez subdivision between Oakland and Sacramento is leading to significant delays to Amtrak trains.
  • The Coast Starlight is cancelled between Redding and Sacramento; however, trains are running from Redding to Seattle, and Sacramento to Los Angeles.

Caltrans anticipates additional closures with the new storm systems; motorists should check road conditions frequently. For the latest road condition information, the radio may be tuned to the Caltrans Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) at 530 AM, 1610 AM or 1670 AM or call the Caltrans Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623). Real time conditions are also available online and for mobile phones at

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