As many as 600 drivers going from Nevada to California early Wednesday morning were stuck in Primm for up to four hours while a commercial vehicle inspection station overhead sign was installed, Nevada Highway Patrol estimates.
The agency warned motorists of the delay last week, but that did not stop some.
Semi-truck drivers and other travelers spent those hours in the small border town, while southbound Interstate 15 was closed from 1 a.m. to 4:45 a.m., trooper Loy Hixson said. That’s an additional 45 minutes more than troopers expected.
One of the two pillars installed to hold the sign in California was off-balance, Hixson said. Resolving the issue caused the delay.
Once the state line reopened, Hixson said it took roughly 30 minutes for traffic to flow smoothly.
“Everybody did what they were supposed to do,” Hixson said of the drivers, who were detoured to parking lots of nearby businesses to wait — except when about 3:55 a.m., cars began to line up to get back on the road, expecting it to shortly open. It did not until nearly an hour later.
Facilities in Primm include water, food and restrooms, making it an ideal location to halt traffic. Hixson said the agencies involved in the closure, including NHP, California Highway Patrol and Caltrans, wanted to ensure the safety of those affected.
The new California Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility, about 10 miles south of Primm, will allow officers to conduct inspections of commercial trucks to identify unsafe vehicles and equipment. That state eventually plans to replace its agricultural inspection station at the facility from Yermo, farther south on I-15.
The Nevada Department of Transportation said that on average, 45,220 vehicles cross the Nevada-California line at Primm every day in April.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Contact Kimberly De La Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @KimberlyinLV.