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1940 closure of Ridge Route

1940 closure of Ridge Route

Dec. 16, 1940: Motor vehicles are halted at Gorman by the first major storm of the season. Chains were required to proceed north.

The Los Angeles Times reported the next morning:

Impeding traffic on mountain highways with snow and ice, and in the lowlands with threatened landslides, the season’s first major rainstorm yesterday and last night drenched the Southland’s coastal plain and mantled the mountains in their first substantial white coat of the winter….

Occupants of an estimated 500 automobiles and trucks stalled on the Ridge Route thumped themselves to keep warm while highway crews spread dirt on ice-coated pavement to permit traffic to move.

Late last night passenger machines and light trucks were permitted to move between Gorman and Lebec if equipped with chains. Snow was falling, however, and there was a possibility the highway might be closed later.

The Ridge Route is now Interstate 5.

This photo was published in the Dec. 17, 1940, L.A. Times.


  1. December 21, 2012, 9:48 am

    So what were all these folks doing on the Ridge Route?

    Wasn’t WWII still ongoing? They’re consuming war fuels idling in the snow!

    By: geo Mann
  2. December 23, 2012, 2:13 pm

    The US did not enter WWII until after Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941. This picture was taken nearly a year prior.

    By: STeve
  3. December 26, 2012, 8:38 pm

    WWll Didn't start forthe US untiol Dec 7, 1941. This is reported to be 1940


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