Recap 10:01 p.m. The Sunday backup in the Pass due to unannounced construction on westbound Interstate 10 in Banning stretched as far as 22 miles east to Indian Avenue in Palm Springs, and it lasted more than 10 hours, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The work on I-10 between East Ramsey and 22nd Street in Banning was scheduled by Caltrans, but due to miscommunication advance notice of the closure was not announced, Terri Kasinga of Caltrans District 8 said in a phone interview earlier Sunday.
"They were planning to do this pavement rehab project, and they already have the pavement torn up so they can't stop," Kasinga said shortly before 1:30 p.m.
Banning-Beaumont Patch interviewed motorists from Wildomar, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Cabazon and Banning, and received comments on this news report as well as comments on the Banning-Beaumont Patch Facebook page.
Update from Beaumont at 9:11 p.m. As of 9 p.m. Caltrans workers were collecting cones and re-opening the last closed lane east of 22nd Street.
All lanes were expected to be open shortly.
Update from Banning at 8:36 p.m. By 8 p.m. there were three lanes open on westbound Interstate 10 in Banning.
The westbound bottleneck started at the offramp to East Ramsey Street, where the far right lane was closed.
The Hargrave Street exit was open and the 8th Street exit was closed. There was no visible work being done in the closed lane other than a street-sweeper vehicle and a truck with flashing lights moving slowly in the closed lane.
From the 22nd Street exit, westbound traffic flowed freely and no lanes were closed between 22nd and the Sunset Avenue off-ramp.
Update 7:31 p.m. Among the motorists who felt stranded Sunday evening in the San Gorgonio Pass due to unannounced freeway work in Banning was 80-year-old Helen Dorsett.
"I'm stranded here," Dorsett said outside the closed Riverside County sheriff's Cabazon Station. "I live in Banning and I'm stuck here.
"I came to Four Square Church here in Cabazon about 11 this morning, no problem getting here," Dorsett said. "Then I got out, the church service was over with, at 1 o'clock."
She drove her Ford Explorer to the post office in Cabazon, then tried to get back on the 10 freeway westbound but found such a long line of vehicles at Apache Trail she abandoned her return trip, went back to the church and took a nap.
"I just now came to the sheriff's station, at 5:30 p.m.," Dorsett said. "I don't know how to get home now. I believe I'm stranded here. I think I'll go down to the fire station and see if they can help me."
Dorsett said she did not have a medical emergency and she had not called 911 for assistance. She said she was "just cold, and I want to get out of the wind."
By 7:30 p.m., traffic was still backed up through the east Pass and beyond, according to the CHP. Crawling motorists jammed the westbound 10 at Haugen-Lehmann Way in Whitewater, and a bright line of vehicle lights stretched into the distance.
The westbound frontage road between Haugen-Lehmann Way and Cabazon was also jammed with motorists, some who jockeyed for position and drove on the dirt shoulders to pass other waiting motorists.
Update 5:01 p.m. "Whose (expletive) bright idea was it do freeway construction on a Sunday?"
That's what Judith Nicoll of Cabazon asked from behind the wheel of her car as she was stuck in traffic on the Main Street overpass in Cabazon Sunday afternoon.
"This is ridiculous," she said. "Can't even get out of the house. We have reservations in Ontario at 6 p.m. We left the house at 3:15 p.m. but we've been on the road half an hour and haven't even got three blocks from the house."
Below the overpass hundreds of vehicles were visible stopped on westbound Interstate 10 and the backup stretched miles through the east end of the San Gorgonio Pass to Indian Avenue in Palm Springs, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Update 4:51 p.m. Among the thousands of motorists caught in snarled traffic Sunday on Interstate 10 in the San Gorgonio Pass were two women from Sherman Oaks and Studio City.
Jackie Joseph was stuck in crawling traffic on the Main Street overpass in Cabazon about 3:30 p.m. She said she and Yuki Morita got on westbound Interstate 10 in Palm Springs and they'd been trying to make progress for 90 minutes.
"We got on the 10 about 2 p.m. in Palm Springs, so it's been an hour and a half to get a few miles," Joseph said.
Update 4:36 p.m. The closures on I-10 in Banning could last until midnight, the California Highway Patrol reported at 4:19 p.m.
Traffic was backed up to Indian Avenue in Palm Springs, according to the CHP.
Some motorists stuck in traffic in Cabazon about 3:30 p.m. said they had been trying to get through the San Gorgonio Pass on Interstate 10 four hours or more.
Kristie Riddle of Wildomar said she started out Sunday morning driving from Johnson Valley off Highway 247 near Lucerne Valley in San Bernardino County, came down Highway 62 and got on I-10 westbound about 10:30 a.m.
"I'm just trying to get home to Wildomar," she said as she drove at a snail's pace across the overpass. She said she had to get off the 10 in Cabazon to relieve herself "and I've been stuck an hour just to get back on the 10."
KNX 1070 News Radio reported that some motorists who were stuck for hours in the Sunday jam ran out of gas. Numerous tow truck crews were responding to incidents along the 10 east of Banning and east of Cabazon.
Shortly after 4 p.m., an eastbound ambulance stuck on an off-ramp used sirens and flashing lights to eventually break free of the backup and headed north across the Main Street overpass.
Update 4:21 p.m. Law enforcement closed access to frontage roads Sunday on the south side of Interstate 10 in Cabazon as traffic backed up as far as Highway 62 on the east end of the San Gorgonio Pass, due to unannounced road repairs on the 10 in Banning.
East Cabazon surface streets were jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic at the Main Street interchange as hundreds of motorists tried to find a way around the backups.
Some motorists stuck in traffic crawling across the Main Street overpass in Cabazon used profanity to express their frustration with the delays.
Update 1:36 p.m. Some motorists are driving on Union Pacific railroad right-of-way to avoid the traffic on westbound Interstate 10, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Union Pacific train engineers have been warned of traffic in the area, according to the CHP.
Update 1:31 p.m. Unannounced pavement rehab work on westbound Interstate 10 was causing 10-mile backups to Highway 111 Sunday aternoon, a Caltrans spokeswoman said in a phone interview.
The work was scheduled by Caltrans, but due to miscommunication advance notice of the closure was not announced, Terri Kasinga of Caltrans District 8 said in a phone interview.
"They were planning to do this pavement rehab project, and they already have the pavement torn up so they can't stop," Kasinga said shortly before 1:30 p.m. "I'm hearing it's backed up past the 111 now."
Work crew supervisors hope to have the work completed by 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Sunday, Kasinga said.
A Caltrans bulletin on Friday indicated a closure was planned on two lanes of the eastbound 10 from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday from 8th Street in Banning to Apache Trail in Cabazon for slab replacement. That work has been completed, Kasinga said.
The Friday announcement included no mention of pavement rehab work on the westbound 10 in Banning.
Posted 12:41 p.m. An unplanned roadwork closure on westbound Interstate 10 in Banning was forcing backups Sunday six miles east to Main Street in Cabazon, a California Highway Patrol dispatcher said in a phone interview.
Caltrans crews began scheduled repair of potholes at 11:30 p.m. Saturday on the westbound 10 between Hargrave Street and Sunset Avenue, the dispatcher said.
They were unable to finish the work as planned though, and the closure continued past noon Sunday, the dispatcher said.
Three westbound lanes were closed and one westbound lane was open, the dispatcher said. Backups on the westbound 10 were stretching east to Main Street in Cabazon, the dispatcher said.
It was not clear when all lanes would re-open, the dispatcher said.
At 10:32 a.m., the CHP web site indicated there were backups due to the unplanned closure, and the closure was expected until 5 p.m. Sunday.
At 11:21 a.m., the CHP reported vehicles were going the wrong way on a frontage road in the area of Seminole Drive and Malki Road due to the traffic backups.