Caltrans reported all northbound lanes of Highway 17 in both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties have reopened. Southbound Highway 17 south of Summit Road is fully opened. Currently only one lane of southbound Highway 17 north of Summit Road is open.
Early Friday morning, officials closed Highway 17 in both directions after frigid, windy weather swept through the Central Coast late Thursday and Friday and brought snow into the mountainous regions.
Highway 152 and Highway 9, the other two major roadways connecting Santa Cruz County to the Bay Area, are also closed.
Santa Cruz County officials are asking residents to cancel all travel except in cases of emergency.
“Public safety and road crews are significantly strained and rescues or other assistance may not be possible should travelers become stuck, trapped or otherwise need assistance,” the county stated in a press release.
Snow blanketed much of Highway 17 where it snakes through the Santa Cruz Mountains, leaving some motorists to brave the icy conditions and others to abandon their trips.
Aptos resident Erik Kayhart was coming home from a show in San Francisco late Friday night when he saw some vehicles stuck on Highway 17. He drove up the hill just past Redwood Estates, before he turned around to wait out the weather.
As of 9am on Friday morning, with Highway 17 still closed, the sleep deprived Kayhart holed up in a McDonald’s in Los Gatos, drinking coffee and waiting for conditions to change.
The high winds overnight toppled trees and blew down wires, causing closures of numerous roads throughout Santa Cruz County, including Bear Creek Road, Eureka Canyon Road and Graham Hill Road.
Soquel-San Jose Road is closed at Smith Road, and a slide in the area of Ellen Road and East Zayante has forced a soft closure.To check road conditions in Santa Cruz County during the storm, visit cad.chp.ca.gov or tinyurl.com/County-Roads