Snowfall Snarls Roads

Heavy snowfall over Thanksgiving saw the mountain communities of Crestline, Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs inundated with over two feet of snow, which caused traffic jams on Highways 330 and 18.

On the afternoon of Friday, Nov 29, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials stopped travelers from going up the mountain from Highland at a chain control point. The road was stopped for miles on Saturday, Nov. 30, as thousands of tourists queued up for hours to catch a glimpse of the first major snowfall of the season.

Motorists stopped by Caltrans on Friday said they experienced a lack of communication from authorities as they sat in their cars in snowy weather, expecting to be let through a roadblock at the intersection of Highway 18 and Green Valley Lake Road.

Commuter Emily Brown, whose family owns a cabin in Big Bear, was stuck in the traffic jam on Highway 18 for over an hour.

“It was pretty nuts. It didn’t seem like we really had any clear indication of what was going on because we had a bunch of different sources. Some people walking next to their cars said the road was open, but some people said we needed to turn around,” Brown said. “There were Caltrans guys and CHP, but no information was getting to people sitting in their cars.”

Becky Sanders, who was also on her way up to Big Bear for the weekend said she was disappointed by the lack of communication from the authorities as well.

“We saw one guy drive past us in a Maserati without chains on his wheels and there are Jeeps stuck in the snow two feet away. The Caltrans guy [was] just standing next to his truck. Some people [were] trying to put on chains. Some people [were] just stuck. It [was] a total mess,” Sanders said.

For a full list of road closures and chain advisory warnings refer to the Caltrans ‘current highway conditions’ tool located at https://roads.dot.ca.gov/ or download the Caltrans QuickMap app.