Heavy Snow Causes Post-Christmas Travel Headaches

I-15 Back Open Between Primm And Baker After Icy Conditions Shut Stretch Down

Mitch Kelly
December 26, 2019 - 2:43 pm
A snow-covered I-15 through the Cajon Pass on 12-26-19

Cal Trans District 8

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LAS VEGAS, NV (KXNT) - Holiday revelers may dream of a white Christmas, but a powerful winter storm the day after Christmas turned travel into a nightmare.

Snow shut down Interstate 5 in Tejon Pass through the mountains north of Los Angeles and stopped traffic on Interstate 15 over Cajon Pass in the inland region to the east.

A truck driver was found unresponsive in a rig stopped along I-5 in Tejon Pass and Kern County firefighters pronounced him dead, according to the California Highway Patrol’s online incident log.

After being stuck for five hours in Cajon Pass, motorist Johnny Lim wasn’t sure he could reach Las Vegas, where he hoped to spend some time after Christmas. He worried about driving his car through the pass when it reopens.

“The freeway is full of snow and ice,” he said, adding that his car “is not built for conditions like this.”

I-5 rises to more than 4,100 feet (1,250 meters) in Tejon Pass between Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley. Cajon Pass rises to more than 3,700 feet (1,128 meters) between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains on I-15, the major connector between Southern California and Las Vegas.

Nevada Highway Patrol also closed I-15 at Primm due to snowy conditions just south of there in the Mountain Pass Summit area..

People who had plans to go up to the Spring Mountains or Red Rock Canyon had their plans scuttled as well, with roads and routes closed due to dangerous driving conditions. State Route 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump was also closed for several hours due to the weather.

Later in the afternoon, the California Highway Patrol once again shut down I-15 between Primm and Baker due to icy conditions and multiple accidents over that stretch. That closure continued until 9 on Friday morning.