Caltrans sees significant uptick in traffic since start of pandemic

Thanksgiving Travel
Posted at 9:43 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 12:43:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Those quiet and empty commutes are officially in our rear-view mirror.

A report showing data collected by Caltrans sensors and satellites shows that volume on the roads has accelerated recently. Traffic during volume peak hours in hot spots plummeted 44% in April 2020 compared to that same month, the year before. The report shows in April 2021, volume was down only 8% when compared to April 2019.

"We're starting to see the same traffic patterns we saw pre-pandemic," said California Highway Patrol officer Jim Bettencourt. "We're also seeing an uptick in calls for service whether crashes disabled motorists, so we're seeing a lot of that."

His top tip to keep commuters safe, plan ahead.

"Watch 10News traffic in the morning, plan before you leave the house. Watch traffic reports on the news," Bettencourt urged.

He also said fender benders are still the number one type of incident reported.

"If you're involved in a fender bender and there are no injuries, move to right shoulder. If you're able to, take the next exit and get off the freeway," Bettencourt added.

Meanwhile, although Caltrans said while they were able to speed up project deadlines thanks to less cars on the road, drivers can still expect full lane closures this summer.

"Some of the projects we still have is that 94 project that's right now," said Gerard Chadergian, with Caltrans.

Chadergian said safety for drivers and construction crews during roadwork is top priority.

"You might be detoured off the freeways and then detoured to get back on, so it keeps our workers safe. The traveling public safe and we're able to do more work without people zooming by the work zones," said Chadergian.

Another sign heavy commutes are back: Caltrans said ramp meters that folks might have sped past before, will likely be back on now with volume increasing.

If you find yourself on the side of the freeway and need assistance, Freeway Service Patrol is ready to help drivers at no cost.