January 2021 Update

With the recent closures of most of the mountain passes due to heavy snow, we were stunned to find out that people had been traversing the old Ridge Route to bypass those closures. Not only did people in regular vehicles do this, but at least three large tractor-trailers also had done so. These three trucks became stuck just north of Kelly’s Halfway Inn. We will have to assess what damage was done to the roadway as soon as possible but this is very bad news for the roadway. There are at least four sections of the roadway which are extremely delicate as they are partially undermined or otherwise eroded. Other issues can be damage to the remaining curbing along the roadway, broken paving, increased slide potential, and loss of historic artifacts. Large vehicles traveling this roadway during or after a winter storm can severely damage the paving. Travel over the roadway itself during these conditions can also be dangerous due to ice and mud.

The USFS, it would seem, was negligent in their duty to keep the gates closed during this time. The roadway, gates open or not, is still technically closed and no vehicles should have been there. Other people on Facebook, particularly on two group pages, have been incorrectly reporting the roadway to be open and encouraging travel. At this time, I am refraining from calling people out by name but we are well aware of their actions. We have worked hard to keep the road safe. Seeing it damaged and trampled upon by large trucks during a major storm is an affront to all our work. Seeing people touting the roadway as open when it is not works against our efforts.

Once again, do not travel the Ridge Route during or after a major storm. You will damage the roadway regardless of what vehicle you choose, including motorcycles. It might be pretty, but the price to pay is far too high.

Footage of the stranded trucks courtesy of ABC 7 Los Angeles

https://abc7.com/video/embed/?pid=10033309

4 thoughts on “January 2021 Update”

  1. Part of our issue was the LACK of notice by others on a certain facebook group. They chose to post there and not inform us, as we are not on facebook. I only found out as I occasionally monitor the group, though I don’t have a facebook account, as there have been problems in the past with it. We are working to get in contact with whoever has information regarding the companies involved and hold them responsible.

  2. As a lifelong operator of semi-trucks(CMV’s), it never ceases to amaze me how far below standards the caliber of CMV operators has fallen. Drivers in general have become totally irresponsible, relying completely on technology and using no common sense.
    That said, where is the accountability on the part of the USFS for leaving these gates unlocked? Not to say that someone couldn’t have used bolt cutters to barge on through(not like that would ever happen!!). Once again, just a total disregard for time and property, both public and private.
    I can only image what kind of damage a fully loaded tractor-trailer attempting to drag a 53’ trailer around those curves and on that thin, brittle concrete would do.
    Finally, a big thanks to the responsible users of social media for notifying the world of a possible shortcut while destroying a magnificent piece of history, all for a like or another follower.

  3. We are working hard to ensure this never happens again and see that those responsible are held liable, such as the trucking companies. This cannot happen again for many reasons. The fact that three large big rigs traversed the entirety of the Ridge Route during a major storm is heartbreaking. It has the potential to set us back a lot and may well have irreparably damaged a valuable historic resource.

  4. Thank you for the update. what a shame that some people just do not care what their actions do as long as they are able to do what they want like skirt around a road closed due to snow. Very distressing to hear this information as i have been able to enjoy the ridge route many times since the 70’s with family and friends and any damage that happens to it is very disappointing.

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