Sierra Nevada Portion
Crossing the Sierra Nevada, I-80 regularly gets snow at higher elevations from fall to spring. Caltrans sometimes requires vehicles to use snow tires, snow chains or other traction devices in the mountains during and after snowstorms. Checkpoints are often set up to enforce chain restrictions on vehicles bound for icy or snowy areas. When chain restrictions are in effect vehicles must have chains on the driving wheels, except 4WD vehicles with snow tires.
I-80 crosses the Sierra Nevada crest at Donner Summit (also known as Euer Saddle) at an elevation of 7,239 feet (2,206 m) westbound and 7,227 feet (2,203 m) eastbound. The summit is located in Nevada County, California. The pass is generally open year-round; it is plowed in winter, but may temporarily close during the worst snowstorms. The older, original Lincoln Highway route (Historical U.S. 40) over Donner Pass is about two miles (3 km) to the south; this highway was replaced as the official trans-Sierra route by I-80 in 1964. Although the current Donner Pass is lower, Euer Saddle was chosen for the interstate because of more gradual approaches.
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