I-5 Closure Caused by the Delta Fire Causing Trouble for Truck Drivers

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Update: On Sunday, Caltrans reported Interstate 5 between Redding and Mount Shasta would be closed "until further notice." 

SACRAMENTO -- The Delta Fire has shut down 45 miles of Interstate 5 in Shasta County. Officials say it’ll be closed at least until Sunday— when they’ll evaluate whether to reopen the highway.

For now, it’s causing major headaches for drivers forced to take lengthy detours.

“I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this,” Mark Balazs said as he was trapped on I-5. "Be it known, If I go down I’m going down in a blaze of glory.”

Cars turned around and sped away from the fire. But, it was a little trickier for people driving big rigs, like Balazs.

“Luckily we were in a spot that was wide enough for semitrucks so we could do a U-turn in the lane. But I had everything packed up in a backpack. I was going to leave everything and abandon it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to," Balazs explained.

Balazs drove 40 miles to a truck stop, hoping to wait out the fire but learned the interstate would be shut down until further notice.

“We got up and we had to take that detour. It was 299. Then there was an accident there..." Balazs said.

The detour took him six extra hours.

Drivers say that detour added anywhere from two to eight hours onto their trip, delaying some deliveries and costing them money.

“We’re losing money, fuel and time,” Sandeep Singh said.

His delivery route runs along I-5 from from Seattle to Sacramento; he’s fueling up to make the trip again -- using the 299 detour.

Singh is paid by the number of deliveries he makes, not the hours he works. So, extra time spent on the detour is a big hit to his paycheck.

“We have a big hope that maybe it’ll reopen. We’ll see what happens," Singh said.

But, despite the issues the closure is causing for truck drivers, Balazs is just thankful no one was hurt.

“Cars and semitrucks you can replace. Human lives, you cannot,” Balazs said.

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