Rain brings new landslide risk along I-84 wildfire areas - KPTV - FOX 12

Rain brings new landslide risk along I-84 wildfire areas

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CASCADE LOCKS, OR (KPTV) -

As rain diminishes the threat of the Eagle Creek Fire, its bringing renewed risk along I-84 eastbound and Highway 30: A potential for landslides that now add more uncertainty to the timeline to reopen the roads already shutdown for the last two weeks.

The Oregon Department of Transportation on Monday echoed what it’s been saying all along – officials have no idea when the eastbound lanes of I-84 will open to traffic.

A spokesman for ODOT said it will be weeks, or even months before Highway 30 reopens to the general public.

For the most part, people who live along Highway 30 are allowed to travel through the area, but they are greeted by roadblocks as they enter and leave, and must present special passes to return home.

Springdale resident Sherrie Crawford normally travels through Highway 30 as part of her second job, but now she can’t count on the extra income.

“I clean houses and I’ve been cleaning for a couple up there (in the closure) for a year now and they’ve not had my services for a little over two weeks now,” Crawford said, adding she feels the sting of the lost wages.

Although ODOT expects Highway 30 will be affected by closures longer, crews are more concerned about three particular burn areas along I-84 eastbound: Near the Toothrock Tunnel, Eagle Creek and Herman Creek.

ODOT spokeman Don Hamilton said crews will likely need to lay fencing and put in retaining walls in the areas at greatest risk of sliding. In some extreme cases, ODOT uses explosives to blast away hillsides and rock debris that threaten to fall on roadways.

Hamilton said crews will have a better sense of a long-term stabilization plan in the coming weeks, and they hope to utilize a helicopter to get a better assessment of the needs.

ODOT has contracts with several rock-scaling and tree companies to remove unsafe trees and debris.

Crews have already removed a couple thousand trees along I-84, allowing the department to reopen I-84 westbound last week.

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