Believe me, I understand the frustration and inconvenience of having a key regional freeway like Interstate 15 closed near Barstow. Detours, congestion, and unexpected delays can really put a wrench in your travel plans. This guide is here to help you navigate the impacts to your journey, find the best alternate routes, and stay safe and informed along the way.
The closure spans about a 4-mile stretch of I-15 between Barstow Road and Lenwood Road, cutting off a vital transportation link for the region. Here‘s everything you need to know:
Just How Bad Are the Delays?
Very bad unfortunately. According to traffic data from Caltrans, average congestion along I-15 near Barstow has ballooned from normal drive times of around 22 minutes to well over an hour during peak commute times:
|Section||Normal Drive Time||Current Drive Time|
|Barstow Rd to Lenwood Rd||22 minutes||Over 1 hour|
In fact, there have been 16 accident reports on alternate routes through Barstow since the closure began, underscoring the cascading traffic impacts across the region.
Longer Commutes Taking a Toll
John S., a Barstow resident who commutes to Victorville, shares his frustration: "My usual 35-40 minute commute is now taking almost 2 hours each way if I time it wrong. I‘ve started going in extra early just to beat some of the traffic but it‘s exhausting."
Many commuters are facing hours of extra windshield time getting to work and back. Service industry workers are especially feeling the impact.
Alternate Routes – Mile by Mile
Here are the best alternate detours to bypass the 15 freeway closure, along with tips and insights from locals:
Highway 58 to Highway 127
This route takes you south around Barstow. Be sure to top up your gas tank and snacks in Kramer Junction as services are limited beyond. Expect possible slowdowns near the Kramer Junciton 15 freeway on-ramp.
Landmarks to Note:
- Gas and supplies at Kramer Junction
- Interesting art installations at Hilitop Rd.
Highway 395 to Highway 168
Taking this northern alternate route,give yourself extra time through the hills approaching Ridgecrest. Traffic may bunch up near the 395/15 interchange.
Tips for this Route:
- Allow more stopping distance on downhill grades.
- Watch out for high winds through valley areas.
Where to Stop:
- Red Rock Canyon State Park offers a nice place to stretch your legs.
- Refuel in Ridgecrest if needed.
Highway 15 to Highway 215
For those starting from LA or south areas, bypass Barstow completely by taking the 15 north to the 215 north. Watch out for congestion around Devore.
- Use Express Lanes through Devore if open.
- Watch out for merging traffic at on-ramps.
Check Traffic Reports Frequently
Your best friend before hitting the road is checking traffic conditions. Apps like Google Maps, Waze, or CalTrans Quickmap give real-time views. You may need to alter your route based on the latest reports.
Some key highway cameras to check:
- I-15 at Outlet Center Dr.
- I-15 Kramer Junciton
- Hwy 395 at Red Rock Canyon Rd.
Watch the Weather
Keep a close eye on weather forecasts for the area. Storms or high winds could lead to hazardous driving conditions or additional closures. Allow even more extra drive time and postpone your trip if necessary.
Avoid Drowsy Driving
With extreme delays, drowsy driving becomes a real risk. Be sure to take regular breaks at safe rest stops. Have an emergency nap kit, like a blanket and pillow, on hand. Switch drivers if possible. Getting there late is better than unsafe driving when exhausted.
Support Barstow Businesses
This closure is also hurting businesses who depend on traffic funneled through Barstow. Consider a solidarity stop in Barstow for gas or food to support locals. Every bit helps!
Be Prepared For Extensive Delays
Hope for the best, but pack your patience and prepare for long waits. Have supplies like water, snacks, chargers, and activities handy. An emergency kit with flares, jumper cables, and basic tools is also a good idea. With preparation, you can handle even a multi-hour delay.
This 15 freeway closure shows why an upgraded, expanded I-15 is needed near Barstow to prevent future major disruptions. But by arming yourself with the right information and attitudes, you can still reach your destination safely. Allow plenty of extra time, stay alert to changing conditions, and support Barstow businesses when you can. We‘ll get through this together!