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BROOKINGS, Ore. -- U.S. Highway 101 is now open at Hooskanaden Creek (milepost 344), approximately 12 miles north of Brookings.
A slide closed the highway on February 24. The slide has slowed to about 3 inches per hour and ODOT says that speed is manageable, allowing crews to reopen the road. Yesterday, crews worked to disperse about 15,000 tons of rock along the path of the highway. Traffic through the slide area is limited to a single lane on a gravel road surface. Flaggers will provide traffic control and motorists should expect delays.
ODOT's Public Affairs Specialist, Dan Latham, told Newswatch12 that drivers can expect a 20 minute delay if they are traveling on Highway 101 near Brookings.
“We do want people to know there will be delays and they’ll need to drive slowly and carefully through this slider because it is gravel," Latham said. "But it is safe to travel on, it's going to be faster and probably safer than going through the detour route.”
Crews from Tidewater Contractors will be on site to maintain the gravel surface and keep the road open. ODOT's next plan is to open a second gravel lane. As soon as the movement completely stops, ODOT officials will repave the road. Latham said it probably won't be repaved to its original three lanes until late Spring or this summer.
Latham also said slides along the coast are just something ODOT officials have become used to in the last few decades.
"We just have to watch these areas and maintain them, if we see slippage like we did the last few weeks we might have to close the road for a week or two to rebuild it," Latham said when asked what ODOT's longterm plan is for Highway 101.
Trucks will rountinely monitor the road, checking for any cracks or changes that might signal a slide.