Winter storms may make for treacherous holiday travels

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Snow and icy roads may make for precarious holiday travels

Dec. 22, 2021

ODOT Contacts

Don Hamilton, Portland area, 503-704-7452

Angela Beers Seydel, Willamette Valley, 541-505-2069

Matt Noble, Southern Oregon, 503-779-9868

Kacey Davey, Central Oregon, 541-280-2716

Peter Murphy, Eastern Oregon, 541-325-2258

If you take to the roads this holiday season be aware that your travels may become treacherous, with freezing temperatures and snow expected in many corners of Oregon.

The Willamette Valley, the mountains, the Columbia River Gorge and Central, Southern and Eastern Oregon all likely will see varying degrees of snow and freezing temperatures over the three-day holiday weekend and into the following week.

Be prepared. Travelers may encounter hazardous winter conditions.

ODOT’s staffing shortages mean we may need a little more time to clear roads, whether it be snow or slides. This is a continuation of a staffing trend we saw last year. We’re working hard to fill vacant positions and will shift resources as needed when we see significant snow or other issues on our roads.

Our crews are on duty around the clock to keep the roads safe and clear problems as quickly as possible.

Here are a few holiday travel tips.

  • Know before you go. Visit and see road conditions along your route, start to finish.
  • Remember that many cameras include temperature, elevation and other critical details about road conditions.
  • Drive for conditions. If encountering rain, mud, snow, ice or extra traffic be sure to slow down and give extra space for stopping.
  • Keep your vehicle in good operating shape, checking brakes, lights, tires and wipers regularly.
  • Watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians. In wintry conditions, visibility drops.
  • Pay attention to roadside message signs. They contain critical information about conditions on the road ahead.
  • Be patient, wear your seat belt, pay attention to conditions and keep a sober driver behind the wheel to help ensure a safe arrival for holiday activities.

In recent days, snow has forced the closure of U.S. 97 into California and of Interstate 5 over the Siskiyou Pass into the Mount Shasta area. Be extra careful whether traveling through the Columbia River Gorge, the Coast Range or the Cascades.

Snow is expected so be prepared, be flexible and be careful.