Motorists traveling to or through the Mt. Shasta area are being encouraged to be prepared for delays during the 4th of July holiday week, and beyond.

Those using navigation devises are advised that S. Old Stage Road from Mott Rd. in Dunsmuir to the railroad tracks near Azalea in Mount Shasta has been closed – even though it may appear as an alternate route.

The back road was closed as of Tuesday morning, July 3, and a sign was placed on Interstate 5 to let motorists know about the closure and direct them to remain on the highway.

As stated in a public service announcement on the Mount Shasta Area California Highway Patrol Facebook page, some roads shown by navigation devises “are not suitable for commercial motor vehicles, vehicles pulling trailers or vehicles with a low profile.

“Commercial vehicles are to remain on designated truck routes as we do not want you to get stuck on a rural road; as well as it is a violation of law,” according to the CHP.

Road construction in the area is expected to cause delays of up to an hour, and the CHP encourages motorists to be prepared with enough gas, food and water.

Mount Shasta Area CHP Commander Lt. Kyle Foster said the Siskiyou County Roads Department made the decision to close the back road from Dunsmuir to Mount Shasta because of public safety concerns, and the CHP supports that decision.

Many public concerns were expressed about the dangers of big rigs traveling the back road, and Foster said the CHP received numerous reports of near head-on collisions.

Lt. Foster said meetings have been held lately involving Caltrans, the County Roads Department, CHP, Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta Fire Departments, Mount Shasta Police Department, US Forest Service, and the contractor doing the roadwork to develop contingency plans for emergency response during the road construction. The project is expected to last for two to three years, according to Caltrans.

Foster said the contractor has loaders available to move the cement barriers if necessary in case of an emergency.

Maximum enforcement for the holiday

The CHP is in maximum enforcement mode for the 4th of July with 80 percent of its officers working roads.

“Our goal is to ensure all Californians and visitors have a happy and safe 4th of July,” said Lt. Foster. “We ask that you never drink and drive, designate a sober driver, and remain off digital devises while driving.”

He said the CHP is also conducting routine DUI patrols through Thursday, July 5.