Highway 101 expected to re-open on Saturday as work on slide continues

The Hooskanaden slide north of Brookings is beginning to slow down, according to ODOT — meaning that contractors could soon create a single lane for traffic.

Posted: Mar 7, 2019 4:47 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2019 4:53 PM

BROOKINGS, Ore. —

UPDATE: If the weather cooperates, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) hopes to have Highway 101 open to traffic again between Brookings and Gold Beach at noon on Saturday.

However, this opening will only consistent of a single lane on gravel, with flaggers regulating traffic.

"Flaggers will provide traffic control and motorists should expect delays. Motorists are also advised to slow down and drive with caution," ODOT said.

The agency said that it has been monitoring conditions in the area since the Hooskanaden Slide began to move about two weeks ago. Ground movement finally began to slow down over the last several days, allowing contractors to get down to business.

"Crews for Tidewater Contractors have been working overtime to remove slide debris and place more than 15,000 tons of rock along the path of the highway," ODOT said.

ODOT will continue to monitor the area for ground movement for the next several months.

(Updated 3/7/19 at 4:45 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: Highway 101 has been closed between Brookings and Gold Beach for a week after a major slide caused roughly a quarter mile's-worth of the roadway to buckle and sink — but it may soon be stable enough for contractors to build a lane of traffic, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

"Over the weekend, the ground movement downhill had slowed to about six inches an hour, a significant improvement from a week earlier when the ground was slipping an average of two feet an hour," ODOT said in a statement on Monday.

Both ODOT crews and workers from Tidewater Contractors have been working to clear debris on the north end of the slide. According to Darrin Neavoll with ODOT, the company has also worked to divert water at the top of the hill that has saturated the ground, contributing to the slide.

"Once that water is removed we are hoping to see it slow down," Neavoll said on Thursday of last week. Presumably, that estimation has proved to be correct.

Tidewater should begin putting down rock in the slide area once the ground movement slows "to about three inches an hour," ODOT said — opening at least one lane for traffic. The process should take between 24 and 48 hours to complete once it's safe to begin.

While the north end of the slide is comparatively stable, allowing the contractors to work, most of the remaining movement has occurred on the south end, where the roadway has visibly moved much farther down. ODOT said that it will continue to monitor ground movement, and Tidewater will start working toward the south side as conditions improve.

"Slides are a common occurrence in winter when the south Oregon coast receives heavy rain, and the Hooskanaden area often requires frequent paving and patching to repair cracks caused by ground movement," ODOT said.

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