Four closures in 5 weeks: How winter I-5 shutdowns can affect businesses

ASHLAND, Ore. – Exit 14 on Interstate 5 in Ashland, to the California border, has closed four times in the last five weeks, for an average of 16 hours, according ODOT.

But each time has been at CalTrans request.

“Many of the weather events we’ve seen, especially this year, have been primarily on the California side of the border,” ODOT spokesperson Julie Denney. “In the last six years, we’ve had at least one closure of at least 24 hours or longer every winter, so it’s not unusual we’ve seen that this year.”

Jonathan Williman is the general manager at Caldera Brewing Company in Ashland, right off Exit 14.

He says he prefers the interstate stay open.

But he admits, a closure of Siskiyou Summit can be helpful, depending on the time.

“On one end it hurts our business, because it stops a lot of regular travelers that travel back and forth through the state,” Williman said. “But if it closes at the right time it can bring in a lot of business because you have travelers coming south that can’t come over the pass so they’re stuck and don’t have anything to do.”

It’s a similar situation in Siskiyou County at Jefferson’s Roadhouse.

The Yreka business generally sees things picks up during a closure, with truckers and travers trying to kill time.

However, for them, there can be delays in getting supplies from up north, that can have a negative impact.

“It makes it really difficult for business,” Jefferson’s Roadhouse manager David Boston said. “Because we sorta of work on getting the supplies through and when business goes up, and highways close down, then we’re sorta run really low on supplies and it makes it harder.”

Talking with several other businesses near I-5 in Ashland, they generally said the closure does bring in more people.

ODOT tells NBC5 the four shutdowns we saw this winter is actually up from last winter, when we saw only two closures.

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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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