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Feb-03-2008 14:38printcomments

Winter Cold Keeps Oregon Highways Closed

Oregon 62, 230 and 138E remain closed.

Snow with cars passing File photo

(ROSEBURG, Ore.) - Sections of Oregon Highways 62 and 138E and the entire stretch of Oregon Highway 230 will remain closed through Tuesday, Feb. 5 as downed trees and large amounts of snowfall have made the highways impassable.

* Oregon 138E is closed at Susan Creek east to U.S. 97;

* Oregon 62 is closed at Prospect east to the Crater Lake National Park entrance;

* Oregon 230, which connects Oregon 138E and Oregon 62, is completely closed.

"Drivers shouldn’t make plans to travel on these highways until at least Wednesday," said Oregon Department of Transportation District Manager John Vial. "There’s a lot of clean-up work ahead of us. Crews are working around the clock to reopen these highways but it will be slow going because there’s so much snow and downed trees up there."

According to Vial, crews are focused on clearing the highways of downed trees, snow and other debris. Conditions worsened Saturday night as two feet of new snow fell in the Diamond Lake area. Snow berms along Oregon 138E now exceed 15 feet in height in some areas.

"Our staff, our equipment and our budget are stretched beyond what’s available," Vial said. "Our focus for the rest of Sunday is to help the communities trapped behind these closures."

ODOT employee injured

58-year old Bert Fernandez, a 30-year ODOT employee with the High Cascades maintenance crew, was injured Sunday morning when a 32-inch fir tree struck his one-ton pickup. The incident happened shortly before 6:00 AM between Prospect and Union Creek on Oregon 62.

A second ODOT employee arrived on scene in a snowplow and transported Fernandez back to Casey State Park, where he was then transported by air ambulance to Rogue Valley Medical Center.

"We can’t emphasize enough why it’s important to stay off these highways," said ODOT Region Manager Paul Mather. "ODOT, Oregon State Police and other emergency service providers are working under hazardous conditions. The public needs to stay home and be safe."

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Jefferson February 4, 2008 10:17 am (Pacific time)

Neal you are simply a newbie here in Oregon. Long before you were born our roads and highways were getting the funding that was allocated. As the democrats got more control, more of these funds were reduced. As usual, your lack of experience/knowldge diminishes your opinion, but hey, thanks anyway...

Neal Feldman February 3, 2008 11:06 pm (Pacific time)

Jefferson - Sorry but it was no different under Empress Minnis or under any republican governor. I think the Shrub administration of the past 8 yrs has completely discredited the rhetoric you are spewing. Ah well...

Jefferson February 3, 2008 6:00 pm (Pacific time)

Excellent example of what happens with a democrat guv and legislature. In the past this was not a normal happening...resources are being directed to one boondoggle after another.

Neal Feldman February 3, 2008 3:02 pm (Pacific time)

Its because ODOT does not plan well so it lacks the proper equipment to deal with these things. We have a freakin mountain range in the state and we don't have snow plows etc to clear highways? Sheesh! Ah well...

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