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I-5 reopens, but traffic backlogs close Central Point exit

Oregon Department of Transportation crews close Interstate 5 at the California border late Wednesday afternoon following heavy snows in northern California. [ODOT photo]

Interstate 5 has reopened after an overnight closure at the Oregon-California border, but the influx of trucks needing fuel has prompted road officials to close a Central Point exit.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed the Exit 33 off-ramp about 3:39 p.m. Thursday, and expects traffic on the freeway to slow to a crawl in the Rogue Valley late into the night, according to ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming.

Truck drivers who normally use the Pilot travel center will need to seek out other options.

Leaming described the amount of truck traffic coming into Southern Oregon from California as jaw-dropping.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” Leaming said.

Officials reopened I-5 south of Ashland and north of Redding, California, shortly after noon Thursday, according to updates from CalTrans and the Oregon Department of Transportation, marking the end of a road closure that lasted more than 19 hours due to severe weather.

ODOT advises motorists to expect congestion and delays in the Ashland area, and to expect slow-moving traffic through to Redding.

Southbound drivers will need to chain up ahead of Siskiyou Summit, according to TripCheck.com. ODOT officials report road conditions between Ashland and the California border that include packed snow and spots of ice.

Despite what GPS devices may show, ODOT advises motorists to steer clear of detours or short cuts into California.

Dead Indian Memorial Road and Highways 66 and 273 are open only to local traffic, and Highway 97 is closed south of Dorris, California, according to ODOT.

Blizzard conditions between Ashland and Redding, California, prompted state road officials to close the freeway at the Oregon-California border late Wednesday afternoon. Heavy snow reportedly disabled numerous vehicles.

For the latest road conditions and updates, see TripCheck.com.