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A look into Caltrans' Dispatch Center as the next winter storm moves in

Caltrans will be fully staffed 24/7 through this next winter storm but they say it is just as much up to you to be prepared before hitting the road.

During sever weather conditions, Caltrans advises drivers to keep current with their winter driving tips and highway conditions. Looking at traffic cameras through Caltrans QuickMaps is one way to see exactly what the road looks like before you get in your car and travel.

"If there's a roadway closure or chain requirements, we want you to know about it," Craig Turner said.

Turner is lead Traffic Manager for District 2 with Caltrans. He oversees frequently traveled roadways from Susanville, Redding, up to the Oregon border.

"We keep an eye on all our State passes so we in here can see all the snow and ice conditions and we can relay information to our maintenance crews and say, 'hey we're starting to get a high amount of snow here, in this case at Eskimo Hill/Lassen Park and we can relay information to our plow drivers and then they can respond by plowing the road and putting down sand and ice material to keep the road open," Turner added.

Turner says a predicted four inches of snow can turn into 24 inches but that is exactly what they are prepared for.

Caltrans is asking drivers to have the same mindset.

"We hope people will slow down, drive responsibly, obey our chain requirements. We have chain up areas but we don't always have people there to staff them to require you to put them on but it's still expected you follow them and put your chains on," Turner emphasized.

Turner went on to advise drivers caught driving through a chain control area without chains may face a hefty fine. With every Caltrans crew working the roadways there is California Highway Patrol close by. Fines can be around $300, depending on court fees.

Caltrans says it all comes down to safety and preparedness.

"A jack-knifed big rig could close down the road and delay you for several hours. We urge you to have plenty of fuel in your gas tank, medications, food, water and supplies in cases something does happen," Turner said.

Being prepared can be as easy as downloading an app on your phone.

Check road conditions before you travel here.

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