Wildfire recovery efforts in Oregon mean extended road restrictions for commercial, passenger vehicles

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Debris on Oregon Highway
The Oregon Department of Transportation expects wildfire recovery on state highways to continue into 2021, resulting in restrictions for commercial and passenger vehicles. This Sept. 10 photo shows debris blocking the roadway on Oregon Highway 138. (Courtesy: Oregon Department of Transportation)

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) issued a reminder this week to commercial freight haulers, as well as drivers of passenger vehicles, that restrictions continue to apply to some areas where wildfire recovery efforts are expected to continue into 2021.

OTR Capital

Impacted highways with active work zones currently include the following:

  • Oregon State Highway 22 through the Santiam Canyon between Gates (milepost 33) and Pamelia Creek Road (milepost 63): Speed limit is reduced to 40 mph in this area. Through traffic for passenger vehicles and trucks is allowed in the work zones.
  • Oregon State Highway 126 between Vida (milepost 28) and Finn Rock (milepost 38): Speed limit is reduced to 45 mph in this area. Truck through traffic is not allowed other than local deliveries or fire-recovery related transports. Passenger vehicle through traffic is allowed in the work zones.
  • Oregon State Highway 224 between mileposts 31 and 49: Road is closed to all traffic. Only fire-recovery-related traffic is allowed on this highway section due to hazard trees and multiple work zones. This route connects on the east end to Forest Service Road 46, which is also closed.

All travelers need to obey posted speed limits and use extreme caution while traveling through the burn-area work zones. Due to clean-up operations, travelers who do not need to use these highways are encouraged to use alternate routes, if possible.

Expect multiple work zones with delays of up to 20 minutes per work site; total corridor delays could be more than an hour. Crews are cutting and removing hazard trees, repairing utilities and the roadway, and removing hundreds of truckloads of debris. Expect to encounter extra trucks, trailers, heavy equipment, etc. on these routes.

In addition to the ongoing work zones, hazards to travelers include damaged and missing guardrails, roadside log decks and slash piles from hazard tree removal, as well as the potential for erosion and falling rocks. With fall and winter rains, there is a greater risk of slides and debris flows, especially in areas where the vegetation, tree roots and underbrush have been burned away.

For commercial freight wildfire info, click here. ODOT advises drivers to refer to www.TripCheck.com for current highway conditions.

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