Delays on US-199 in California could last months as crews work on highway

DEL NORTE COUNTY, Ore. – California Highway Patrol wants people to know you should expect delays on Highway 199 as conditions are changing on a daily basis.

After 17 long days, Highway 199 from Gasquet to the California Oregon border re-opened to all traffic.

A pilot car will take cars one way on the highway for both northbound and southbound traffic.

CHP and Caltrans are working together on the effort as conditions are evolving daily.

“There’s lot of delays right now,” CHP Crescent City spokesperson Brandy Gonzalez said. “It’s going to be ever changing. We’ve had to kind of adjust the closures here and there, moving them up, moving them back and that’s probably going to be something continuous as well, based on where the maintenance crews and Caltrans are working at the time.”

The Smith River Complex ripped through parts of the highway.

Images and video are courtesy of Grants Pass resident Debbie Wiseman who traveled on 199 in recent days.

CHP is telling drivers to be cautious and patient, as traffic will be slower than usual, while fire personnel and construction crews work on clearing debris.

“They’re trying to work on rocks on that hillside because it’s just constantly falling,” Gonzalez said. “I was even working the closure and we heard a loud boom and it was an actual tree that fallen on the other side of the river so there’s still those kinds of things we have to look at and a lot of things that their trying to make those roads safe.”

CHP estimates it may take six months to a year before one-way traffic ends on the highway.

They’re asking people to plan ahead when traveling on US-199 as delays could be up to an hour long.

“This is going to be very long term but just expect delays, if you have an appointment or something you’re trying to get to in Medford allow yourself a couple hours extra because we don’t know what that closure going to look like,” Gonzalez said.

On the Oregon side, ODOT said paving work on US-199 between Cave Junction and the California border will resume on Sunday, which could cause delays of up to 20 minutes.

To stay up-to-date on closures, check CHP Crescent City or Caltrans District 1’s Facebook page for the latest.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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