New snowgate allows motorists to escape Grapevine traffic jam


CASTAIC (CNS) – A winter-like storm that featured snow falling on
Interstate 5 has closed the Grapevine in both directions today, but motorists
at least got the chance to utilize a newly installed Caltrans tool to escape
what would have been a nightmare traffic jam.
The heavily reinforced steel swinging gate was installed in the center
media in unincorporated Castaic, allowing drivers to turn around back from
the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway onto the southbound direction.
Its first day of operation was on Thanksgiving, Caltrans spokesman
Eric Menjivar said.
The Grapevine was shut down at approximately 4:30 a.m. and soon after
that the gate was employed, Menjivar said.
“It takes just a few minutes to open,” he said. “Even big rig
trucks get through. It’s (the gate) such a great tool.”
The gate is on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway, just after the
Lake Hughes Road exit, he said.
The gate is 52-feet long and weighs five tons, yet crews can safely
roll it open manually without electricity in less than two minutes, according
to Caltrans Public Information Officer Michael Comeaux.
“To ensure that cars and truck can make the turn in wet conditions,
concrete pavement was constructed in the media and the shoulder of the
freeway,” Comeaux said. “It’s the first gate of this type installed in Los
Angeles County by Caltrans.”
There was no word on when the road would reopen.


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