Northbound I-5 closed due to mudslide near Woodland - KPTV - FOX 12

Northbound I-5 closed due to mudslide near Woodland

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WOODLAND, WA (KPTV) -

All northbound lanes of I-5 remained closed Thursday morning after a large rock and mudslide blocked part of the roadway near Woodland.

By Thursday evening, one lane had reopened. 

The Washington Department of Transportation closed the interstate at milepost 22 near Dike Road Wednesday afternoon.

The road remained closed throughout the night and transportation crews said they needed to wait until daylight to assess the hillside.

A team of geotechnical engineers checked the hillside Thursday morning to see how stable it was and whether there was danger of any further sliding. By 11 a.m., they determined crews could begin clearing parts of the highway to restore northbound traffic. 

WSDOT had said it realistically expected the road to reopen sometime Thursday night. One lane had reopened by 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Drivers headed north could use Highway 30 and SR-14 as alternate routes, though Columbia County officials warned Thursday that traffic on Highway 30 was extremely heavy and they do not recommend taking that route.

Before noon Thursday, Highway 30 was shut down at the St. Johns Bridge in Portland due to a "major" natural gas leak, according to Portland Fire & Rescue. 

The slide caused a major backup of cars. Many drivers were stuck for several hours with no way to get around the traffic jam.

Officials said three shelters had been set up for stranded drivers at the Promise Church, Grace Community Church, and Woodland High School.

Recent heavy rainfall caused the ground to become very saturated and weather experts say mudslides are still a threat throughout the area.

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