Imperial Valley Press

Caltrans aids San Bernardino County emergency response efforts against severe weather


SACRAMENTO — Caltrans has mobilized all available resources, working with state, county and local partners, to help San Bernardino County residents affected by heavy snowfall over the past week and still at risk with an impending storm in the forecast.

According to a State of California Department of Transporta­tion press release, over 50 Caltrans employees operating 33 high-powered pieces of equipment – including graders, loaders, dump trucks, snowplows and blowers – have removed more than 7 million cubic yards of snow off state highways in San Bernardino County — which equates to nearly 2,205 Olympic-size swimming pools. In addition, private contractor­s have removed another 750,000 cubic yards of snow from California State Routes 18 and 330.

As part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state of emergency proclamati­on, the State Operations Center (SOC) was activated to bring state support to San Bernardino County-led emergency response efforts and coordinate mutual aid from neighborin­g jurisdicti­ons, according to the release. State personnel are on the ground supporting the county, including from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), all working closely with the county-led incident command to rapidly deploy resources, deliver critical supplies to hard-to-reach communitie­s and address emergency management needs.

“Caltrans’ priority right now is ensuring the safety of the public and of affected communitie­s,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares, in the release. “We have mobilized all resources and are working with state and local partners to help San Bernardino County clear roads of snow and dangerous debris. More snow is expected this weekend, so we ask residents to drive carefully, and any potential visitors to avoid traveling in these affected areas until the roads are clear. And if you are able, gather food, water, and medicine before a winter storm. Stores might be closed, and it may be unsafe to travel.”

Per the release, Caltrans, other state agencies, and San Bernardino County officials are working to bring in additional snowplows as well as road crews, and personnel from CAL FIRE and the California National Guard are supporting operations.

Caltrans is also contractin­g with private companies On Monday, to January accelerate 23, 2023, snow Gregory removal Low and Leung clear passed roadways away and in coordinath­is home at ing the with age investor-owned of 60. Greg was born utilities on to December rapidly restore 5, 1962, power. in San Diego, California, Some to additional T ommy infora nd Phyllis mation Leung. included He in earned the his press bachelor's release: degree from C alifornia State Caltrans and partners helped deliver medical and blood supplies to Bear Valley Community Hospital and secured a lifeline route from Big Bear to Lucerne Valley via State Route 18 that transporte­d five patients.

San Bernardino County establishe­d a 24/7 public call-center to field non-emergency calls from residents in impacted communitie­s: (909) 387-3911.

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