Highway 17 temporarily shut near Scotts Valley

Highway 17 in Scotts Valley was closed in both directions on March 21, 2023. Photo: California Highway Patrol (KTVU FOX 2)

Both directions of Highway 17 were temporarily closed near Scotts Valley on Tuesday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol said.

The highway reopened to traffic in both directions at about 2 p.m. after a roughly 40-minute closure. Cars were still moving slowly due to the backup. 

There was no immediate explanation for what prompted authorities to shut the main route through the Santa Cruz mountains. 

Drivers heading south to Santa Cruz were forced off the highway at Granite Creek. Drivers going north toward San Jose were diverted to El Rancho Road. 

The winding path of Highway 17 often becomes treacherous during storms. An atmospheric river was bringing more rain and strong winds to the region on Tuesday.