Rolling slowdowns in Columbia Gorge delayed; begin Oct. 12

Construction delays push the beginning of blasting until Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Once blasting begins, rolling slowdowns are scheduled Tuesday and Thursday mornings for up to four weeks between Cascade Locks and Memaloose State Park.

Crews excavate to form the east portal or tunnel entrance.

Crews have begun excavating at the future tunnel entrances. Work includes stabilizing the rock at the face of the slope prior to additional excavation, drilling and rock blasting. Stone masonry will be placed on the face of the tunnel entrance, including along the areas impacted by construction (as shown in the below rendering). Photo courtesy of Western Federal Lands. 

Oct. 5, 2021

Contact: Don Hamilton, 503-704-7452

Rock blasting to shape the Mitchell Point Tunnel will now begin on Tuesday, Oct. 12. 

Once blasting begins, travelers on Interstate 84 between Cascade Locks and Memaloose State Park (east of Mosier) should plan for long delays Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

During rock blasting, rolling slowdowns in both directions of I-84 will be used to create 20-minute windows where there is no traffic.

Rolling slowdowns are scheduled to occur on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 9-11 a.m. for up to four weeks. The schedule is subject to change.

Travelers should plan for long delays or travel at an alternate time if possible.

This work is part of the effort to build the Mitchell Point Tunnel as part of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Crews are forming a new 655-foot tunnel with drilling and rock blasting.

Visit the project website or check for schedule updates.

An artist's rendering of the tunnel entrance.

Above: An artist’s rendering of the east entrance to the future Mitchell Point Tunnel.
Below: A historic photo of a vehicle leaving the original Mitchell Point Tunnel. 

About the Mitchell Point Tunnel

A historic photo of original Mitchell Point Tunnel with a vintage car leaving the portal.

Mitchell Point was the site of an iconic tunnel on the Historic Columbia River Highway with its five arched windows overlooking the Columbia River. Constructed in 1915, the tunnel was closed in 1953 because it could no longer accommodate high traffic volumes and car sizes. It was destroyed in 1966 to widen the water-level highway, now Interstate 84. The historic tunnel was 390-feet long.

Now, construction is underway for a new 655-foot tunnel with five arched windows at Mitchell Point as part of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

Mitchell Point is located adjacent I-84 east near Exit 58.

People using recumbent bikes on the trail.

About the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Since the 1987, the Oregon Department of Transportation has been charged with working with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the State Historic Preservation Office and Travel Oregon to preserve, enhance and reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Much work has been accomplished since that date; 68 of the original 73 miles of the Historic Columbia River Highway are now open to travel either by motor vehicle (Historic Highway or connecting county roads) or by foot and bicycle (State Trail). Only 5 miles are needed to complete the connection, which includes the work underway at Mitchell Point.

Learn more.

Above right: People traveling by bike begin their journey on the Historic Highway State Trail at the 2019 trail opening of the Wyeth to Lindsey Creek segment. 

Travel the Gorge frequently?

Over the next several years, we have many construction projects planned on Interstate 84 between Interstate 205 and Hood River, and on the Historic Columbia River Highway between Troutdale and Hood River. 

Each project brings benefits to residents, businesses and visitors by increasing safety, extending the lifespan of the highways or completing a gap in walking and biking infrastructure. 

View more information​​ about upcoming work and confirm you are set to receive project updates through email.