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UPDATED: Wintry conditions plague passes

 Posted: 10:20 AM December 21, 2012

5:10 p.m. Interstate 5 is closed to southbound traffic at exit 14 at the south end of Ashland because of severe weather conditions in Northern California, Oregon Department of Transportation officials said.

ODOT is turning southbound traffic around at exit 14 so truckers and other travelers can go back to services in the Rogue Valley. The Jackson County Expo in Central Point is open and available for trucks to wait.

Ashland residents are advised to avoid the freeway and use Highway 99.

ODOT said there is no estimated time for the freeway to reopen to southbound travel.

4 p.m. Interstate 5 over Siskiyou Pass is closed, again, and changing conditions have caused traffic to back up in the valley.

With severe weather reported in Northern California and in the mountains here, drivers should expect congestion and delays, transportation officials said.

The Oregon Department of Transportation advise southbound motorists to delay travel until traffic clears. Ashland commuters are advised to use Highway 99, exiting the freeway in Phoenix and Talent to avoid congestion.

2:30 p.m. Interstate 5 is closed over Siskiyou Pass.

The Oregon Department of Transportation's www.TripCheck.com site reports the freeway is closed from mile 11 south of Ashland to the Oregon-California border because of winter conditions. The road is icy and snow flurries continue.

Travelers will find congestion and stop-and-go traffic backed up to Ashland's north exit at mile 19, the web site reports.

Highway 66 is closed west of Pinehurst by wintry weather, too.

In California, truck traffic is being held at Yreka and Fawndale Road, about 10 miles north of Redding in Shasta County.

12:35 p.m. Interstate 5 into California has reopened for all travelers, including commercial trucks.

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol requested all trucks be held this morning because of blizzard conditions between Yreka and Redding.

While weather had improved at midday, drivers should still expect congestion and delays, transportation officials said.

10:20 a.m. All southbound commercial trucks on Interstate 5 are being stopped in Ashland because of blizzard conditions in Northern California.

No truck traffic is being allowed south of exit 11, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported at about 9:30 a.m. Delays of at least two hours are expected, ODOT officials said. The Jackson County Expo in Central Point is open for overflow truck traffic to wait out the storm.

Northbound trucks are being held at Fawndale Road, about 10 miles north of Redding in Shasta County.

Severe winter weather in Northern California between Yreka and Redding has necessitated the interruption of truck traffic. Windblown snow is limiting visibility there. Chains are required on all vehicles except those with both four-wheel drive and snow tires, CalTrans reported.

On the Siskiyou Summit, it is snowing hard and the road is covered with packed snow. The weather station there reports 17 inches of snow on the roadside. Chains are required.

Highway 97 into Northern California is also closed to trucks, ODOT website www.TripCheck.com reports.

Travelers on Highway 199 should expect delays because of downed trees in Jackson and Josephine counties. Hazards causing delays were reported two miles east of Rogue River and one mile east of Grants Pass this morning.

— Anita Burke


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