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Big rig loses load, causes 35-mile holiday traffic backup on Interstate 5

Metal poles spilled on a freeway shoulder with a big-rig parked in the distance.
A big rig crash just before Southern California’s Grapevine spilled metal poles into the freeway, causing a 35-mile backup and delaying travelers on the eve of Thanksgiving. | Source: Caltrans District 7

San Francisco residents expecting loved ones from Los Angeles should anticipate traffic delays after a big rig crash just south of the Grapevine Wednesday caused a 35-mile backup on northbound Interstate 5.

The big rig was carrying 15-foot metal poles when it crashed around noon and lost its load, spreading the material across all lanes of the freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Just before 6 p.m., CHP officials announced that the three left lanes of I-5 were reopened, however, cleanup crews were expected to take nearly an hour and a half to finish clearing the poles.

Traffic is now backed up over 20 miles, but at one point, the backup spread over 35 miles with a two-hour delay, according to the California Department of Transportation.

Officials are warning travelers passing through the area to ensure they have a full tank of gas and extra water due to the delays.