Caltrans Press Release 19-021

Release Date: 1/18/2019
District: 3
Contact: Raquel Borrayo
Phone: 530-634-7640

Sunday Storm and Holiday Traffic to Impact Travel Times

Motorists Are Encouraged to Come Prepared for Snow Travel

MARYSVILLE – Caltrans District 3 is alerting motorists to an incoming weekend storm in Northern California that will impact mountain highway travel Sunday, January 20 through Monday, January 21.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm watch alerting the public to a weather system that will bring rain to the valley and snow and wind gusts at higher elevations Sunday morning through Monday morning. Snow levels are anticpated to drop from 7,000 feet Sunday morning to around 5,000 feet Sunday night. Accompanied with wind gusts of up to 30 to 50 mph at lower elevations and 60 to 80 mph along ridges, visibility along moutain highways will be reduced.

Motorists should anticipate delays and longer travel time due to increased holiday traffic and inclement weather conditions. Chain controls on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, on U.S. Highway 50 over Echo Summit and on other Sierra mountain roadways should be anticipated Sunday through Monday. Caltrans permitted and trained chain installers on I-80 can be identified by a reflective sign with their bib number. Chain installers are not permitted to sell chains. Motorists must carry chains or other legally approved traction devices.

Motorists are advised that speed limits during chain controls are reduced to 30 mph on I-80 and 25 mph on U.S. 50. Coupled with the recent storms in the Sierra Nevada region, Caltrans crews will be working around the clock to keep roadways open and clear. Drivers should watch for snow removal equipment and reduce speeds while in their vicinity.

Caltrans reminds drivers to check that tires are properly inflated and have a good tread, and to stock vehicles with water, blankets, snacks, a flashlight and a full tank of gas before mountain travel. Further tips for safe winter driving and information about chain controls can be found at

As a reminder, snow play is not permitted along highways and in rest areas. Vehicles parked along highways and in rest areas prevent Caltrans maintenance crews from clearing the highways of snow and prepping roads for incoming storms. Rest areas inundated with passenger vehicles also prevent truckers from making legally mandated rest stops. Legal snow play areas can be found on the California State Parks website at

Check out Caltrans' “QuickMap” for current road conditions and chain requirements at For real-time traffic, download the QuickMap app on iTunes or Google Play. Motorists also can use the California Highway Information Network automated phone service by calling 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).