The California Department of Transportation advises motorists to be extra cautious this year-end holiday season as a record 7.7 million Southern Californians are expected to travel on state highways in and out of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Caltrans’ number one goal is safety and health. As we head into the busy travel season, we urge motorists to drive carefully to ensure the safety of yourself and others — pack your patience.
“Holiday gatherings are best remembered when loved ones arrive safely, not necessarily on time,” said District 7 Director John Bulinski. “Motorists can expect delays because of above-normal traffic on major highway corridors. Plan on it — allow extra time and consider traveling during off-peak periods and consider alternate routes.”
In anticipation of crowded roadways, Caltrans has posted this message on 30 key message
signs in the region: “HOLIDAY TRAFFIC DEC. 20-24 EXPECT DELAYS.”
To help reduce traffic congestion, Caltrans has taken several steps for weekends prior to Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, including accelerating pavement rehabilitation work on the #3 northbound lane on Interstate 5 in Castaic. The lane will reopen by Friday, Dec. 21, to make all four northbound lanes available.
The department also has imposed a holiday construction moratorium on all planned activities that may create delays for motorists, with a few exceptions such as emergency work due to damage related to the recent Woolsey and Hill fires. Sections of Decker Road, State Route 23, remain closed because of mudslide damage. All work will be suspended on a few days just before the holidays. The goal is to maintain safe roadways and protect the public.
In case of emergencies, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol will close lanes or highways for the protection of the public.
Caltrans will be working closely with our media partners to ensure accurate information is available and tweeting updates under @CaltransDist7.
Before you hit the road, plan ahead by checking Caltrans’ Quickmap, http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/, or call 511 for real-time road conditions.
On average, motorists travel 111 million vehicle miles per day on freeways in District 7. Combining commuter, tourist and holiday travel, historical data suggests our highways could see at least double that amount on Thursday afternoon, according to transportation analysis by INRIX.
Motorists should prepare their vehicles for ex, ended periods on the road by checking their batteries, tires, headlights and fluids, as well as pack water, food, a flashlight and a first-aid kit.
“In the Golden State alone, AAA anticipates coming to the roadside rescue of 218,000 stranded drivers during the 11-day holiday travel period,” said Doug Shupe, manager of corporate communications and programs for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “And we will rescue 960,000 nationwide. The primary reasons why people will call AAA will be for flat tires, dead batteries and after getting locked outside of their vehicles.”