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MARYSVILLE December 30, 2016 – Caltrans District 3 is alerting motorists traveling in the Sierra foothills, to mountain areas or over the Donner or Echo Summits during the New Year’s weekend to be prepared for travel delays. Cold temperatures and alternating bands of precipitation are predicted to arrive Friday night and continue through Tuesday morning, January 3, resulting in winter driving conditions, even at lower elevations.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting up to one to two feet of snow for summit passes with snow levels dropping to foothill elevations on Monday. Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit and on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit should be anticipated as well as possible chain controls on local roadways as snow levels drop. Very cold temperatures are likely to create icy and slippery conditions, just as holiday travelers are heading out for New Year’s activities or heading home after the holiday weekend.

Caltrans’ snow removal crews will be working throughout the storm on summit passes and impacted Caltrans roadways. Caltrans permitted and trained chain installers on Interstate 80 can be identified by a reflective sign with their bib number. Valley area crews will be monitoring valley and foothill locations for storm impacts. Caltrans encourages motorists to slow down and move over whenever flashing lights are observed on the region’s roadways.

Severe weather combined with increased holiday traffic will likely result in roadway congestion and travel delays. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead by following these winter driving tips http://www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/winter.html:

WINTERIZE YOUR VEHICLE

  • Check your tire pressure and tread depth to minimize sliding and/or hydroplaning.
  • Replace the wiper blades and fill the windshield wiper fluid reservoir; be sure to use a winter formula to help de-ice windshields.
  • If traveling to higher elevations, carry tire chains correctly size for your tires, in good working order and practice installing the chains before needing to use them.
  • Have a full tank of fuel before traveling.

CARRY A TRAVEL KIT

  • Have blankets, extra clothing, food and water, towels, a shovel, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small bag of sand or kitty litter and road flares.
  • If traveling with children, bring activity packs to help prevent driver distractions.
  • Have a fully charged cell phone before leaving and carry a car charger.

DRIVE CAREFULLY

  • Reduce speeds during winter weather and allow for additional stopping time.
  • Turn on headlights to see and be seen and turn off cruise control.
  • Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually.
  • Keep additional distance from other vehicles and do not tailgate.
  • Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and don’t crowd the plow or sander.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, overpasses and shaded areas; they may freeze first.
  •  If your vehicle begins to skid, steer in the direction of the slide and slowly remove your foot from the accelerator.

CHECK CONDITIONS FREQUENTLY

  • Check out Caltrans’ “QuickMap” for current road conditions and chain requirements at http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov. A mobile version is also available.
  • Motorists also can use the California Highway Information Network automated phone service by calling 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).
  • Motorists can see real-time conditions before they hit the road by using our map of traffic cameras in the Sacramento Valley, up Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50 and around the Tahoe Basin.
  • For Interstate 80 and Highway 50 updates, follow Caltrans District 3 on Twitter and Facebook to receive the latest information about current roadway conditions.
  • For forecast information, visit the National Weather Service website.

ANTICIPATE DELAYS AND CLOSURES

  • Understand that winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and allow for extra travel time or delay your travel until conditions improve.
  • Make sure you share the route you intend to take with friends or family.
  • Exercise patience and respect for other motorists.

Motorists are urged to be “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.” Caltrans will issue updates on Twitter @D3PIO and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict 3.