If you attempted to drive almost anywhere in the city of Burbank after a debris flow closed all lanes of the I-5 in Sun Valley on Wednesday afternoon, October 9, you found yourself in total gridlock. Glenoaks Blvd., San Fernando Blvd. and Victory Blvd. were filled with all the Northbound I-5 traffic.
According to Bonnie Teaford, Burbank Public Works Director, all traffic signals (which are monitored by Burbank’s Traffic Information Center) were set to maximum optimization and there were no failures, so traffic kept flowing. The system was monitored remotely by traffic personnel through the late afternoon and into the early evening.
Drivers who thought they could sneak into residential neighborhoods and get around the gridlock found other drivers were thinking the same thing.
Large semi trucks found themselves rolling along city streets, as the I-5 is a major truck route in both directions. Trucks needing to keep delivery schedules had to keep moving, even though the traffic was not in their favor.
Burbank Police units responding to routine calls found themselves caught in the gridlock and on several occasions advised dispatchers of extended delays due to traffic.
Once the California Highway Patrol opened a couple of lanes on the freeway, following quick work with the cleanup by Cal Trans, the traffic on Burbank streets steadily reduced. The traffic on local streets was flowing regularly by 6:30 p.m.