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A new gate installed along Interstate 5 in Castaic allows drivers to turn around and travel back in the other direction when road conditions are dicey.

That came in handy on Thursday, when a snowstorm forced the closure of the freeway through the Grapevine in the midst of the Thanksgiving travel crush.

Crews rolled open the gate north of Lake Hughes Road just after the freeway was shut down about 4:30 a.m., said Eric Menjivar, a spokesman for the California Department of Transportation.

It was the first time that Caltrans had to use the equipment, which was installed last month as part of an ongoing construction project.

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