Traffic jams in Southern California never end, and fans of Coachella may go nowhere fast. Photo by John Schreiber.
Traffic jams in Southern California never end, and fans of Coachella may go nowhere fast. Photo by John Schreiber.

Southland drivers are used to monster traffic jams, but the drive from Los Angeles to the desert for the Coachella music festival this weekend was tough for a hundred miles, and officials expect the ride home Sunday night and even Monday morning to be more difficult.

Motorists poured into the region Friday for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival via all possible routes from the Los Angeles area along Interstate 10 and the 60 Freeway, considerably slowing eastbound traffic in several spots.

The typically heavy traffic that accompanies each Friday of the annual festival returned throughout the day Friday, but with far fewer collisions then were seen Monday as drivers exited the region after the festival’s first weekend. Interstate 10, which funnels drivers from Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties into Indio, saw expectedly heavy congestion.

But traffic also slowed down well before the desert on the 60 Freeway through Riverside, Moreno Valley and Beaumont. Should traffic continue to clog highways Saturday, Caltrans identified State Routes 62 and 74 as two possible detour routes.

As bad as it was, the traffic did not rival bumper-to-bumper westbound traffic that included several non-injury crashes in the Indio and desert areas Monday morning.

Along with festival-goers departing the desert, a multi-vehicle crash just before 8 a.m. Monday west of Washington Street slowed traffic further, along with a 4-vehicle crash near Banning at around 10 a.m., a 12:30 p.m. crash near the Cook Street offramp in Palm Desert that blocked the right lane of the freeway, and a car that slammed into a big rig just before 1 p.m. near Whitewater, blocking the right lane there as well.

If you’re not in a rush to get back to Los Angeles after the festival ends Sunday night, authorities recommended waiting for the return trip until Monday afternoon, thereby avoiding the Sunday night and Monday morning expected jam. Of course if you leave Monday afternoon from the desert, you may hit the usual afternoon rush hour traffic jam in the Los Angeles area once you near home. All for what hopefully was a great festival weekend.

— Staff and wire reports


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