Westbound I-84 reopens in Gorge after Eagle Creek Fire shut down - KPTV - FOX 12

Westbound I-84 reopens in Gorge after Eagle Creek Fire shut down highway

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TROUTDALE, OR (KPTV) -

Ten days after the Eagle Creek Fire shut down Interstate 84, the westbound lanes reopened Thursday night.

The Oregon Department of Transportation announced westbound traffic could once again move from Hood River to Troutdale, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The eastbound lanes remain closed.

Many truck drivers are relieved to hear that westbound traffic is finally getting through.

"It took about five hours to go down 26 to hit 216, to hit 197, to come up on the east side of The Dalles and then hit Pendleton or whatever," said Craig Campbell. "216 is such a windy road, it's a two lane road a truck should not be on."

Campbell says he's looking forward to shorter trips and less time behind the wheel.

"I have to deal with it tomorrow morning because eastbound won't be open yet, but hopefully by Monday it'll be good," Campbell said.

All westbound off-ramps along the 45-mile stretch of road also remain closed for now. That includes the ramp to Cascade Locks, with people traveling there still required to use Bridge of the Gods.

Drivers are not permitted to stop anywhere along the highway, as it remains an active fire zone.

Travelers will see active fires along the highway and firefighters will continue to work in the area, but stopping on the shoulders creates a safety hazard.

Cars parked on the shoulder will be towed. ODOT reports that tow trucks are staged in the area to ensure stopped vehicles are immediately towed away.

ODOT had stated earlier Thursday that opening the westbound lanes of traffic was the top priority, but increased fire activity on the east side of the fire initially made Thursday night’s reopening uncertain.  

Crews continue working to remove burned trees and hazardous rocks that were loosened in the fire.

Long-term, ODOT reported that drivers should expect intermittent closures of I-84 in the fall and winter, as the rainy season may make the already unstable hillsides even worse.

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