February 28, 2019 For more information: Lou Torres, 503-986-2880
OR 58 to remain closed for at least through today
Many more leaning and weakened trees need removal
SPRINGFIELD— OR 58 will remain closed to regular traffic for at least one more day to allow crews to remove many leaning and weakened trees that could still fall on the road. Crews have already removed 800 to 1,000 large trees that blocked the road and downed power lines caused by the record breaking snowfall early this week.
“We don’t want to allow traffic on the road too soon with so many hazards still remaining,” said Jim Gamble, District 5 manager with the Oregon Department of Transportation. “Many trees are still leaning over the road and are weakened, and we need to remove them to help ensure the safety of travelers.”
Gamble said that many of the trees that need to be cut and removed have heavy amounts of snow on them, Three to 4 feet of snow on the ground makes it even more hazardous for workers. Once the trees are cut, they need to be moved well away from the travel lanes.
“We are making excellent progress but we have to do this work with safety as our No. 1 priority,” Gamble explained.
On Tuesday, crews were able to open a “lifeline” route from Lowell to Oakridge to allow for utilities and emergency providers to reach the City of Oakridge. Oakridge, 40 miles east of the Eugene-Springfield area, had been without power stranding residents and preventing essential services from reaching the community. Since Tuesday, ODOT has been able to escort the utility companies and other critical service providers to and from the Oakridge community.
OR 58 is a 70-mile stretch of road that travels over Willamette Pass and is an important route for east-west travel across the state.
ODOT has been working together on this effort with a number of partners including the U.S. Forest Service, Lane County, City of Oakridge police and fire departments, Lane Electric, Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon State Police, Union Pacific Railroad, Franklin Construction and R & R Tree Service.
For updates on traffic, go to www.TripCheck.com or call 511.