Oregon Department of Transportation is working closely with its partners to determine when the 45-mile section of Interstate 84 and the Historic Columbia River Highway, between Hood River and Troutdale, can be safely opened. That stretch of freeway is currently closed by the Eagle Creek Fire
Safety of first responders and travelers is the number one priority. ODOT officials said they are taking the following steps to ensure that the highway is safe for travel:
Assess and remove danger trees: Over 2,000 trees have been identified as being in danger of falling into I-84. ODOT is working with forestry professionals to assess burned trees and make plans to remove those that are dangerous. Crews began to perform assessments in safe areas on Wednesday morning. Due to fire conditions, this assessment is taking place only from the road and not along the slopes above the highway.
Rocks: ODOT is hiring contractors to assess the rock slopes that tower over the highways and remove rocks before they can fall into the roadway. This work is expected to take place over the next few days, as conditions allow.
Evaluate bridges and tunnels: ODOT bridge Inspectors are working to evaluate the bridges on I-84 to ensure that structural damage did not occur in the fire. At this time, bridge damage has not been found along I-84. Crews will continue to look at the eastbound Tooth Rock Tunnel just west of Cascade Locks.
As these assessments continue, ODOT is determining the time needed to safely address these hazards. This is occurring as of Wednesday afternoon and will continue as long as needed.