Southland drivers face nightmare traffic after mudslides on major highways – Los Angeles Times

Commutes in northern Los Angeles County and eastern Kern County were a nightmare for drivers who tried to navigate the roads Friday after mudslides prompted the closures of two major highways and nearby roads.

Drivers making their way to Northern California were struggling to find a route, running into closed roads.

Four mudslides swallowed nearly 200 vehicles on California 58 east of Tehachapi in Kern County, according to the California Department of Transportation. 

In a harrowing video, driver Jose Antonio Vargas films the moment a sea of mud overtakes vehicles on the 58. Vargas, in Spanish, frantically calls: “Someone call 911! Someone call 911! Help! The cars are being inundated!”

Drivers became trapped and were forced to abandon their vehicles.

The highway will be closed between Mojave and Tehachapi for several days. Caltrans suggests drivers take California 14 to California 178 to get into Bakersfield.

In northern Los Angeles County, all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed between Parker and Grapevine roads, Caltrans said. The northbound lanes were reopened after 12:30 p.m., and the southbound lanes will be closed until 5 p.m., the California Highway Patrol said.

For drivers stuck on the 5, CHP suggested taking California 41 or 46 to the 101 Freeway to California 126 to get to their destination.

For three friends heading from Orange County to Three Rivers in Sequoia, the drive had been more of a struggle than they had expected.

The trio left around 10 p.m. Thursday, but when they reached Tehachapi Road, CHP stopped them and gave them an alternative route. By then, it was too dark and they tried to find a hotel.


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