January Update from Truckee, California

 

What comes to mind when you hear the word “gridlock”?  If you happened to be on the road in or around Truckee on Sunday, January 6th after New Years this word may hold special meaning.  It was a challenging day for many as the holiday traffic and weather combined for a memorable travel day with almost 20 hours of road closures and 30,000 - 50,000 vehicles carrying up to 80,000 passengers tried to find alternative routes and accommodations to clear Donner Pass Road and I-80 W.  

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A message posted on Facebook by Chief Leftwich, Truckee’s Chief of Police, was the most informative we’ve found to describe the series of events that led to this situation as well as answers to questions and future plans to avoid repeat occurrences.  The big takeaway was that communication is key. There has since been a regional dialogue initiated called the Transportation Management Association (TMA) to help the key players such as CalTrans, CHP, hoteliers, ski resorts, Placer County and the Town sync in times of emergency.  

Photo: CHP - Truckee Facebook Page

Photo: CHP - Truckee Facebook Page

Another key to communication is staying informed via local apps and resources such as Truckee PD, Fire and CalTrans.  Below are two valuable tools to receive up to date information.

* Subscribe to Nixle for local updates by texting Truckee’s zip code to 888777

* Download Caltrans QuickMap App


Although I wasn’t in the central traffic of Truckee on January 6th, I was in Reno for the I-80 closure after my son’s baseball practice.  They closed the freeway in Verdi to limit the buildup farther west but we were able to detour through Verdi and get on at Gold Ranch with a local drivers license, making  it home mostly unscathed. The following weekend on MLK, I found myself yet again on I-80 for an extended period near the Agriculture Station east of town. This was another holiday weekend that severely slowed traffic moving east.  All in all, holidays equal traffic and storms equal road closures. In the future, if there is any way to stay off the road and instead grab a cup of tea and get cozy with a game or puzzle, it may be a better use of time!

- Megan Evans, KJM Team