California travelers stuck in Sierras due to snow

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – A little after dinner time Wednesday night, Caltrans shut down eastbound traffic on Interstate 80 due to severe weather. But instead of heading back down the hill at Drum Forebay, people decided to take a side road that doesn’t lead where they wanted to go, leading to a mess of cars, people realizing their mistakes, and lots of frustration.

Cameron Lopes was one of those stuck in traffic. When he was asked if he regrets not waiting, he said, “Yeah, I do. It’s kinda unsafe, you know? Driving in this type of weather.”

A jack-knifed big rig and spin outs at the summit is why I-80 eastbound was shut down.

Traveler Alan Berezin was stuck waiting on the side of the road. “They are all pretty clueless,” he said. “I think everyone was really supposed to turn around and head back down the hill and they just don’t want to. They want to try and wait it out like me but they really don’t know what they are doing.”

While waiting for I-80 to reopen was the only choice, many didn’t want to do it further down the hill until Caltrans forced their hand. “The highway is closed,” one Caltrans worker said at the time. “We don’t know how long it’s going to be, you need to take this ramp. You cannot wait here.”

The silver lining: it’s still November. Meaning this is a lesson for these drivers that will last all season long.

“I think it’s obnoxious that no one gave us anything at all,” one traveler. “Like, ‘Stop right there.’ Or, ‘Just stay on the freeway, stopped.’ That would’ve been fine too.”

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