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Interstate 5 climbs over the Tehachapi Mountains along a route historically known as the Grapevine. The route is a vital link between Southern California and the Central Valley. During winter months, snow storms may occasionally close the Grapevine to traffic.

But Tejon Ranch Co., the developer of a massive distribution center at the foot of the Grapevine, south of Bakersfield, claims the closure...s are few and far between. In fact, ranch officials contend, traffic moves more smoothly over the Grapevine than along congested freeways in Southern California.

“According to the California Highway Patrol, the Grapevine is closed an average of 30 hours per year,” wrote Hugh McMahon, Tejon’s vice president of commercial/industrial real estate, in the December issue of the Kern Business Journal (www.kernbusinessjournal.com).

“And when one examines total closure time due to all circumstances -- weather, accidents and congestion -- this main route from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to Kern County actually closes less often than the main routes from the ports to locations in the Inland Empire,” he wrote.

An analysis of California Department of Transportation data from 2008 to 2010 shows the total hours of closures for the main routes from the ports to key distribution locations throughout Southern and Central California:

• Port to Inland Empire, east via Interstate 10 -- 218 hours
• Port to Inland Empire, east via Highway 60 -- 151 hours
• Port to Inland Empire, east via Highway 91 -- 140 hours
• Port to Tejon Ranch Commerce Center, via Interstate 5 -- 121 hours
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