Expect busy roads over Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Nov. 22, 2021

For more information, contact:

Don Hamilton, Portland area, 503-704-7452

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

Matt Noble, Southern Oregon, 503-779-9868

Peter Murphy, Central Oregon, 541-325-2258

Tom Strandberg, Eastern Oregon, 541-663-6261

 

If your holiday travel plans this year include heading over the mountains make sure to use extra caution and watch out for changing weather.

We always need to be especially alert when traveling over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. But wet weather and the potential for snow at higher elevations this year could spell problems.

AAA Oregon/Idaho projects 652,000 Oregonians will hit the road over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, an increase over 2020 and close to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. That’s a lot of vehicles on the road, especially on the busy holiday weekend travel days Wednesday and Sunday.

Holiday travelers on Interstate 84 should expect rolling slowdowns Wednesday in both directions between Cascade Locks and Memaloose State Park, east of Mosier, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. These slowdowns create 20-minute windows with no traffic during rock blasting for the new 655-foot Mitchell Point Tunnel. The Wednesday work is the only scheduled slowdown during the Thanksgiving weekend.

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

Our crews will be on duty through the weekend to keep the roads safe and ready to clear problems as quickly as possible.

Here are some travel tips for the weekend.

  • Know before you go. Visit com and find out conditions all along your route, start to finish.
  • Remember that many Tripcheck cameras include temperature, elevation and other critical details about road conditions.
  • Drive for conditions. Rain, snow, or extra traffic – slow down and give space for stopping time.
  • 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.
  • Use patience, 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.

And remember that Oregon and Oregon State will play football in Eugene on Nov. 27, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Expect slow traffic along Interstate 5 Saturday in the Willamette Valley both before and after the 12:30 p.m. game.