Traveling? Congestion likely north and south, road officials say

Drivers going over the river and through the woods may need to pack their patience as interstate holiday jams from Roseburg to Redding are likely, say transportation officials in Oregon and California.

A mix of heavy holiday traffic, snowstorms on the Siskiyou Pass and bridge repair work already is causing major congestion on Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon. Oregon Department of Transportation officials reported backups extending five to eight miles in some areas earlier this week.

Bridge repair projects under way near Grants Pass and Myrtle Creek reduce I-5 to a single lane in each direction. Combined with the first major snowstorms on the Siskiyou Pass and increased traffic volumes for the holidays, delays along I-5 are likely, officials say.

"Congestion occurs when there's a break in the storm," said ODOT District Manager John Vial in a news release today. "Trucks tend to bunch up and wait for a clearing. Anywhere a lot of trucks and heavy holiday traffic meet will cause congestion."

In California, motorists should prepare for delays of up to an hour on I- 5 at the Pit River Bridge, say California Department of Transportation officials. Construction continues, and traffic remains reduced to one lane in each direction.

"While we ask motorists to prepare for hour-long delays, just in case," said CalTrans District Director Brian Crane in a press release, "we've observed much less volume the past two holiday seasons and we're optimistic backups will be shorter."

Road condition updates are available on ODOT's travel information Web site at or by calling 5-1-1. For anyone who cannot access 5-1-1, road and weather information can be accessed toll-free within Oregon by dialing (800) 977-ODOT (6368). From outside Oregon, a long-distance number, (503) 588-2941, is available.

Drivers can get real-time updated information by calling the Pit River Bridge hot line at 530-225-3054. For more information on California highway conditions, visit the Caltrans Web site at or call (916) 445-7623.

Links to online road conditions in both states is available at

— Meg Landers

Share This Story