The new Grapevine gate, which was utilized on Thanksgiving to turn motorists around on the 5 Freeway in Castaic after snow closed the interstate, was a “success,” officials said Tuesday.
On Thanksgiving Day, the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation worked to turn around a large number of vehicles for the first weather-related incident after snow closed the Grapevine down, said Michael Comeaux, a spokesperson for Caltrans.
The gate is located in the median of the 5 Freeway just north of Lake Hughes Road in Castaic, according to officials.
Caltrans has heard only positive things about the new Grapevine gate, according to officials.
Part of the success was the cooperation and patience from the public knowing that the only thing controlling the closure of the freeway was the weather, Comeaux said.
“(The gate) allows more vehicles to cue up on the freeway and not inundate Castaic city roads,” said Officer Josh Greengard, a spokesperson for the CHP Newhall Area Office.
One of the successes of the Grapevine gate was that it relieved traffic throughout Castaic, according to officials.
“We noticed the Hasley roundabout was not gridlocked,” Greengard said.
When the snow started falling, causing the CHP to close the 5 Freeway, officers blocked the left two lanes of the roadway, according to CHP officials.
“We funneled everyone into the right two lanes,” Greengard said. “If they wanted to get off, they could, or they could turn around.”
During the closure, officers from neighboring CHP offices assisted the Newhall office, according to officials.
When the 5 Freeway is closed, it takes between seven to nine officers to manage the traffic, Greengard said.
“This gate is the first of its kind in Los Angeles County,” Comeaux said.
Due to the publicity it received, Comeaux feels that it could start a trend of getting other gates similar to the one in Castaic installed in other parts of the state.
In the weeks to come, Caltrans is set to work with the CHP to discuss ways to continue efforts to make closures run smoothly, and find ways to make the future closures go even better than the first time, Comeaux said.Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
KHTS FM 98.1 and AM 1220 is Santa Clarita’s only local radio station. KHTS mixes in a combination of news, traffic, sports, and features along with your favorite adult contemporary hits. Santa Clarita news and features are delivered throughout the day over our airwaves, on our website and through a variety of social media platforms. Our KHTS national award-winning daily news briefs are now read daily by 34,000+ residents. A vibrant member of the Santa Clarita community, the KHTS broadcast signal reaches all of the Santa Clarita Valley and parts of the high desert communities located in the Antelope Valley. The station streams its talk shows over the web, reaching a potentially worldwide audience. Follow @KHTSRadio on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.