Highway 199 closed briefly as part of widespread snow

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore.– ODOT said it had to switch to a priority system in order to treat all of the areas hit by snow.

The snow even led to a brief closure of Highway 199 in Josephine County.

ODOT and the Illinois Valley Fire District cleared a tree that uprooted and fell across both lanes.

IVFD said people waiting for the highway to reopen even chipped in to pick up branches.

IVFD Deputy Chief Jeff Gavlik said, “ODOT’s been doing a very good job of plowing roads but it’s hard to keep up with everything as snow falls so there’s always some amounts of snow and it seems to be kind of consistent the last couple of days to have snow or ice on the roads.”

ODOT has 60 snow plows for the southwest region and can shift resources when necessary, but widespread snow like Tuesday morning makes it challenging.

That’s when ODOT implements a priority system to treat the most traveled roads first like I-5 and Highway 99.

“That is really the challenge with a widespread event is just making sure we stay ahead of the storm,” ODOT’s Matt Noble said, “it’s really varied conditions out there so folks should be prepared for pretty much everything winter can throw at them.”

Noble said any time we see below freezing temperatures, ice could form on roadways.

He said ice can be difficult to spot especially in the morning or at night, so it’s important to drive cautiously the next few days.

“Obviously that’s something we’re preparing for as best we can,” Noble said, “we are out there with our trucks and our crews putting down de-icer which stops ice from forming, but if it gets cold enough that does render de-icer less effective so we’ll see what the weather does.”

As always, ODOT is encouraging drivers to be prepared and use Trip Check before they hit the roads.

In California, QuickMap has the latest information on travel conditions.

And this time of year, always carry chains for your vehicle.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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