COLFAX (CBS13) – Interstate 80 in the Sierra is once again closed Monday morning due to heavy snow.
Both sides of the freeway are closed from the Nevada State Line to Colfax. Poor visibility and traction issues are to blame, California Highway Patrol says.
Caltrans doesn’t expect I-80 to be reopened until early Monday afternoon at the earliest.
The closure comes after the freeway saw a closure due to heavy snow over the weekend.
I-80 reopened around 2 p.m. on Sunday, after being closed for 16 hours between Colfax and the Nevada state line. Caltrans says it was due to “zero visibility.”
“I was planning on taking 50, but this finally opened up as I got to Sacramento. So, I came up 80,” said Justin Humlock, who lives in Nevada.
Several schools are starting a little later Monday morning due to the snow. El Dorado High School in Placerville and Union Mine High School will be on a two-hour delay. All schools in the Pioneer Union School District and Gold Oak Union School District are also on a two-hour delay.
Some schools are closed due to the weather, including Black Oak Mine Unified School District, the Pollock Pines School District and the Lake Tahoe Unified School District.
The whiteout conditions began Saturday evening, forcing an immediate shutdown I-80 and leaving many people stuck. Once it reopened, many found themselves gassing up at a gas station in Nyack.
“It sucks! A lot! And it took us four hours to get from Reno to here,” explained Michelle Gordon. She and her family got stuck up in Reno overnight. “No one knew the highway was going to shut down, or we would have taken off yesterday!”
And snow is not just reaching higher elevations. The National Weather Service predicts snow to fall at elevations as low as 1,500 feet through Monday in the Sacramento region.
Meanwhile, Caltrans has checkpoints on I-80 in areas where the snowfall has been heaviest. They want drivers to be prepared with chains, or they won’t get far.
“We knew the storm was coming. We knew there was a possible delays that we could expect. We just took it easy. Hung out,” said Lana Willis, who lives in Sacramento. Her husband added, “We bought chains on Friday.”
The CHP says while conditions have improved, it is still pretty rough through the summit. Big rigs still were not allowed on I-80 as late as Sunday evening.
That’s been a problem for folks like Arcadio Leyva, who had a load of goods headed to Utah.
“Mother Nature did not agree with us. We’ve been stuck here since last night,” said Leyva.
If conditions remain, Levya is worried he could be stuck in Nyack for a few more days.