I-84 Eastbound landslide status update 2: Friday 2/14/2014, 1:00 p.m.
Here’s the latest on the landslide that dumped about 2,000 cubic yards of rocks and debris on I-84 three miles west of Hood River (at milepost 61) just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 2/12/2014.
We will issue updates as the situation changes.
The current situation
Beginning just past sunrise today—Friday, 2/14/2014—roped-in scalers began knocking down loose rock already in danger of falling from the 120-foot cliff above the highway. ODOT Region a Manager Jason Tell led a media tour of the landslide this morning, explaining the latest. Here’s a link to a photo you are free to use: www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/12526684274/. And here’s a link to a 30-second ODOT video of the scaling operation taken Friday morning, which you are free to use, crediting ODOT: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAbQxqEtXYc&feature=youtu.be. (Note the action at 0:28)
Scalers will be working only during daylight hours because the work is not safe to perform at night. This work is expected to take two full days.
I-84 eastbound will remain closed from Troutdale (milepost 17) to exit 62 in Hood River through the weekend.
One lane of I-84 westbound will remain open between Hood River and Troutdale; travelers should expect slow traffic, delays, backups and possible short-term highway closures until they get past the slide area.
ODOT will staff the barricades at Troutdale 24/7 to allow local residents only to proceed as far as Cascade Locks and Stevenson, WA. Local residents should be prepared to show identification.
ODOT’s suggested alternate route during the eastbound closure is to use Interstate 205 and the Glenn Jackson Bridge to travel to Washington State’s SR-14, and then head east to the Hood River Bridge, where you can cross back over to continue on I-84 eastbound.
We chose this particular alternate route and the closure at Troutdale instead of Cascade Locks for two important reasons:
(1) The Glenn Jackson Bridge carrying I-205 traffic across the Columbia River is four lanes wide northbound, versus the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks, which is only one lane wide northbound. We cannot expect that a one-lane bridge could handle all the traffic from an Interstate highway.
(2) Travelers who choose to wait at the point of closure have access to more facilities and services in Troutdale; we’re concerned that too many people and vehicles would queue up in Cascade Locks, blocking access and perhaps overwhelming facilities.
A second alternate route is U.S. 26 (Mount Hood Highway) to OR 35 and then north to I-84 in Hood River. With rain and snow expected in the area, ODOT warns travelers to be prepared for possibly severe winter weather along this route.
Today and tomorrow—Saturday, 2/15/2014—scalers will remove loose rock from the steep cliff. This scaling work must be finished before it is safe for maintenance workers to begin removing the tons of rock and debris on the highway. That work, which will remove about 200 large dumptruck loads of material, will continue 24/7.
We hope to open one eastbound lane of I-84 sometime Monday by shifting the median barrier into the westbound lanes; at that time, one westbound lane will remain open.
By Monday, as we see how cleanup work is progressing, we should be able to report when all lanes of the interstate highway will open. Such work is, of course, dependent on the weather: Heavy rain has been forecast!
Safety is our first priority for the workers on the scene and for the traveling public.