ODOT crews making progress on reopening roads damaged by wildfire

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ODOT Crews Make Progress on Road Repairs

Sept. 30, 2020

For more information, contact Katherine Benenati, 503-871-0388 (Regional contacts included below)

SALEM -- Crews continue to make progress clearing and repairing roads damaged by wildfire around the state, but there’s a lot of work to do before roads are fully reopened in parts of Oregon.

Roughly 47 miles of highway remain closed, down from a peak of 244, and roughly 43 miles are open to piloted traffic only.

In the last week, imminent threat trees were removed in 95 miles of damaged area. Imminent threat trees pose the greatest risk of falling.

While removing imminent threat trees has been a priority and must be done before some other repairs, crews are also assessing culverts, guardrail, pavement, slopes, signs and equipment for damage.

Here’s what drivers can expect around the state:

  • OR 126E
    • Current status: Pilot cars are running between MP 27.55 to MP 38 in one direction at a time. Check TripCheck.com for the latest schedule.
    • So far we’ve removed imminent threat trees along 24 miles. We’ve assessed 19 bridges and 32 of 134 culverts. None of those were damaged. Of 494 signs we assessed, 424 will need to be replaced. All 45 miles of guardrails have been inspected and 1.35 miles will need to be replaced.
    • Regional media contact: Angela Beers Seydel, 541-505-2069
  • OR 22E
    • Current status: Closed from MP 56 to MP 65. Pilot cars are guiding drivers between Gates and Detroit/Idanha. Residents should expect at least one hour to make a one-way trip. Check TripCheck.com for the schedule.
    • So far we’ve removed almost all imminent threat trees along 17 miles. We’ve also assessed 1,022 signs, 104 of which will need to be replaced, 18.69 miles of guardrail, 3 miles of which are damaged, and 40 of 65 miles of pavement, none of which is damaged according to preliminary assessments.
    • Regional media contact: Lou Torres, 503-559-7118
  • OR 224
    • Current status: Closed between MP 31 and MP 49.97. Forest Service Road 46 is closed as well.
    • So far we’ve removed almost all imminent threat trees along 32 miles. We’ve also assessed 406 signs, 200 of which will need to be replaced. We’ve installed temporary signs for slides and ordered permanent signs.
    • Regional media contact: Don Hamilton, 503-731-8265
  • OR 138E
    • Current status: Pilot cars are operating between MP 21 and 29. Expect delays.
    • So far along a 24-mile stretch of damage, we’ve removed imminent threat trees along 22 miles. In that same area, 3 miles of pavement has been damaged. Of 7.55 miles of guardrail assessed, 5.5 miles has been damaged.
    • Regional media contact: Dan Latham, 541-817-5200

A number of other east-west routes are open with no restrictions including: I-84, U.S. 26, U.S. 20 and OR 58.

You can track our progress online. ODOT’s wildfire resources webpage includes information on closures, repairs and assessments to date, links to photos, videos and more. You can also sign up for news and emergency alerts.

Even after roads are fully reopened, heavy rain will be a concern in fire-stricken areas. ODOT may have further work to do to stabilize hillsides or clear debris from falls. Slides and debris flows are a particular concern – especially after rains – in areas where fire has stripped away vegetation, tree roots and underbrush.

Know before you go

Partial openings that allow limited traffic while work continues will be common. Drivers can expect to see flaggers or pilot cars and should plan for frequent lane closures and limited access. Through traffic should still take alternate routes until local wildfire hazards are resolved.

Drivers should check TripCheck.com for updates on closures.

For pictures of road damage around the state: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/albums/72157715891016418

For videos of explaining the recovery challenges faced by ODOT crews: https://www.youtube.com/user/OregonDOT