Be prepared for winter highway conditions throughout Oregon

ODOT crews worked through the night and are continuing their 24 hour coverage plowing and sanding Oregon highways as they responded to the significant region-wide weather event that produced heavy snowfall over a large area of the state. Travelers are advised to be prepared for winter conditions throughout the state and review road and weather conditions before heading out by checking TripCheck.com and local weather reports. If possible, avoid travel until conditions improve.

In eastern Oregon a section of Interstate 84 through Ladd Canyon east of La Grande was closed last night from around 9:15 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. this morning due to blowing snow and white-out conditions. Around 1:38 a.m. the freeway was open for about 20 minutes when conditions improved for a short period, but was closed again around 2 a.m. There are currently no major eastern Oregon highway closures, however more snow is expected and conditions can change at any time.

With forecasts of continued frigid temperatures and additional snowfall later today, crews are working with the goal of keeping roads passable.

ODOT recommends motorists consider delaying travel when conditions are severe. If you must drive in these conditions:

  • Be ready to use your chains. Be patient. Go slow.
  • Expect a long commute that could last hours. You never know when weather or traffic incidents will cause the road to be closed for extended periods.
  • Keep fuel tank full (in case you get stuck in road closure).
  • Carry emergency supplies (water, food, warm clothes, flashlight, etc.)
  • Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Don’t abandon your vehicle, even in the shoulders. It could be towed at your expense.

Keep a watch on weather conditions throughout the day in anticipation of the next snow storm which could make current road conditions worse.

We appreciate the patience of travelers who delay their trips or experience longer commutes. We cannot be everywhere at once to clear the roads and we cannot clear the roads when they are stacked with traffic. The cooperation of the traveling public is imperative in keeping the highways passable and we thank you in advance.

For additional resources on winter driving and preparedness, please visit: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/Pages/winterdriving.aspx

Know Before You Go: Call 5-1-1 or visit www.TripCheck.com for the latest real-time traffic updates and camera views of Oregon’s highways. Outside of Oregon, travelers can call 503-588-2941.

Submitted by Tom Strandberg, ODOT Region 5 (eastern Oregon)

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