“Lifeline” route cleared to cut-off Oregon community

OAKRIDGE, Ore. – A community cut off from the rest of Oregon now has a lifeline thanks to the hard work of Oregon Department of Transportation crews.

During an extreme winter weather event in western Oregon, several highways were completely shut down due to downed trees and deep snow. One of those roadways was Highway 58, which connects Interstate 5 and Highway 97. Unfortunately, the small town of and Oakridge is on Highway 58. It was effectively snowed in. To top it off, thousands of people lost power in the area.

ODOT crews immediately went to work with contractors and timber fallers to remove the hundreds of trees blocking snow plows from clearing the road.

The immediate goal was to open one lane so Oakridge citizens could get basic food and supplies and so crews could get the power restored.

Work had to be stopped twice while the snow was still falling, as heavy and wet snow dropping from trees nearly missed a number of crew members.

At about noon on February 26, ODOT announced they’ve successfully opened a “lifeline” route to Oakridge. “We’re currently escorting the utility companies into Oakridge so they can make necessary infrastructure and power line repairs to get the power restored,” ODOT said. “A fuel delivery was escorted into Oakridge from US 97 on the east side.”

The closure of Highway 58 is technically still in effect. The cleared lane is for authorized vehicles only. There is no estimate as to when the road will re-open to the public.

There is also no estimate as to when power will be restored to Oakridge.

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