ODOT warns drivers of icy roads north of Rogue Valley for holiday weekend

SOUTHERN OREGON, Ore. – Winter weather will affect much of Oregon this holiday weekend.

ODOT said if you’re staying in the Rogue Valley, there won’t be much to worry about.

Roads will be slick, but freezing rain isn’t expected in areas like Josephine and Jackson County.

ODOT wants people to be cautious when traveling up north, with conditions expected to be worse in higher elevations.

“A lot of the high cascade roads are expecting some snow over the next couple of days,” ODOT spokesperson Matt Noble said. “But if you’re heading north up Interstate 5 to Roseburg or even more north than that, there’s a couple hills on there as well, so make sure you’re aware of when the hills are coming up because conditions can change quickly.”

Noble said they are concerned over potential ice buildup at the bottom of a hill or summit.

He said it’s best for people to leave as soon as they can, or try to stay home, if your traveling north of Roseburg.

ODOT believes they’ll be able to handle the winter weather like most years.

“We are confident in our ability to treat the roads as best we can,” Noble said. “Our staffing numbers are good for the upcoming weekend. None of this is new so we know what to do in this situation because it’s happened before.”

The potential for freezing rain in Portland prompted ODOT to disperse salt on some roads.

Typically, salt is used in only certain areas like the Siskiyou Summit, I-5 and I-84 in eastern Oregon.

It’s not applied often mainly due to environmental¬†concerns.

Although it may help with snow and sleet conditions, Noble said it’s not always effective.

“It’s a need based tool that we use sparingly if we have to,” he said. “If the temperatures get into the mid teens, salt becomes much less effective. Ice is ice. And we only have so many tools to combat it.”

If you have to travel, ODOT said it’s best to prepare for the worst case scenario, before you leave.

Make sure you have plenty of water, snacks, any medications, a flashlight and full tank or charge for your car.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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