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Highways reopening, some chain restrictions lifted after winter storm in Southern Oregon

Road crews were beginning to reopen Oregon's High Cascades highways on Friday after a widespread winter storm passed through southern Oregon and northern California.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 4:39 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2020 3:59 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Road crews were beginning to reopen Oregon's High Cascades highways and transportation officials were loosening chain restrictions on Friday after a widespread winter storm passed through southern Oregon and northern California.

Crews from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) finished clearing hazard trees and piled snow from Highway 138 East and Highway 62 north of Prospect, allowing them to reopen the roadways.

“We’re glad to get the area back open. We hate to close highways but sometimes winter forces our hand,” said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. “Crews worked tirelessly every day, only to be pushed back by more snow, hazardous high winds and falling trees.”

Highway 230 remained closed on Friday afternoon due to heavy snow and downed trees. ODOT said that clean-up work would continue through the weekend while crews remove trees and debris from the snow berm lining the roadway so blowers could widen the route for travel.

The agency said that travelers should still be prepared for delays and allow extra time in order to reach a destination, and always let someone know your destination and when you should arrive there. Travelers should also carry chains, water, snacks, and blankets.

Check below for updates on known road closures, restrictions, and other traffic conditions throughout southern Oregon and northern California.


Jackson County

Around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jackson County Roads said that many roads in the area above 3000 feet in elevation had seen heavy snowfall, with some areas seeing upwards of two-foot accumulations.

"While snow plows have been working continuously throughout the day, driving conditions on these roads are challenging and is expected to worsen this evening," County Roads said.

Most high mountain roads in Jackson County are not plowed during evening hours, and the County urged travelers not to use those roads overnight.

"While the storm has let up in lower elevations areas, the mountains have continued to get pounded", noted John Vial, director of Jackson County Roads. "We will continue to plow these high elevation routes into the early evening and plows will return starting around 5:00 am. If drivers can delay their travel until tomorrow that is highly recommended."

The following roads were hardest hit and are not advised for travel:

  • Dead Indian Memorial Road, Colestin Road, Butte Falls-Fish Lake Road, Butte Falls-Prospect Road, and any other above 3000 feet.

"Expect severe winter driving conditions and if you don't need to go, don't," County Roads said.


Josephine County

By 4 p.m. on Thursday, Josephine County Public Works said that all remaining road closures involved power lines and were under the car of Pacific Power. Crews would remain on the roads through the evening to plow, sand, and patrol for any further issues. Public Works said that they would be back in time for the morning commute for more clean-up plowing and sanding.

"Showers are decreasing through the late afternoon, but motorist are urged to use extreme caution tonight and tomorrow," the County said. "Freezing road temperatures are quite likely overnight, and a re-freeze would create very hazardous conditions."

District 1 – Wolf Creek and northern county:

  • Speaker Road (600-block), Coyote Creek Road, Lower Graves Creek Road (4700-block), Bridge Lane (halfway up), Brimstone Drive.

District 2 – Merlin, Hugo & Colonial Valley:

  • Hugo Road (2900-block), Artlin Road, Jump Off Joe Creek (3100-block), Azalea Drive (4000-block), Robertson Bridge Road (300-block), Pickett Creek (1200-bock) Russell Road (3000-block), Galice Road (just below Morrison Lodge), Stewart Road.

District 3 – City of Grants Pass, mid-county:

  • Midway Avenue, Waters Creek Road, Murphy Creek Road (1400-block), Kubli Road (900-block), Griffin Park Road (just off Riverbanks Road), Lappland Drive.

District 4 – Williams:

  • East Fork Road

District 5 – Illinois Valley:

  • Deer Creek (at Dryden Road), Deer Creek Road (2000-block, 5500-block, and 7100-block), Hays Cut Off Road (at Holland Loop), Holland Loop Road, Dick George (4000-block), Takilma Road (5200-block), Thompson Creek Road (2000-block), Holton Creek Road, Dick George Road (1900-block).

Interstate 5

Siskiyou Summit:

Yreka:

  • Chains requirements have been lifted on I-5 from the California border to Redding at this time, according to QuickMap. There are chain requirements on spur highways, including Hwy 97 and 89.

Sexton Summit:

  • Drivers must carry chains or traction tires at this time.

U.S. Highway 199

Oregon:

  • ODOT is requiring drivers to carry chains or traction tires through Hayes Hill.

U.S. Highway 97

Siskiyou County:

  • Chains or traction tires are required on all vehicles just outside of Weed.

Klamath County:

  • ODOT is reporting black ices in stretches of Hwy 97 north of Klamath Falls. Drivers are required to carry chains.

Highway 140

  • Chains are required on semi trucks near Lake of the Woods. ODOT is reporting packed snow on the road.

Highway 238

  • Drivers are required to carry chains on Jacksonville Hill. ODOT says there are spots of ice along the highway.

Highways 62, 230, 138

  • Highway 62 is back open in full, from Prospect to the junction with Oregon 230 and beyond toward Crater Lake National Park. Drivers must carry chains beyond Prospect, and must wear chains near Crater Lake past the 230 junction.
  • Highway 138E is back open all the way from Roseburg to the junction with Highway 97. Chains or traction tires are required, though semi-trucks must use chains.
  • Highway 230 remains closed due to heavy snow and fallen trees.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 79293

Reported Deaths: 973
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah18432251
Washington11175104
Marion9745153
Clackamas684183
Lane458650
Umatilla450250
Jackson402838
Deschutes255815
Malheur247245
Yamhill181817
Linn164124
Polk134319
Douglas99819
Klamath9475
Jefferson87811
Benton8557
Union8158
Morrow6757
Lincoln67015
Josephine5795
Wasco55419
Columbia5444
Coos4583
Hood River4343
Clatsop3820
Baker3014
Crook2486
Curry1532
Tillamook1480
Lake1451
Grant1391
Harney1051
Wallowa723
Gilliam230
Sherman230
Wheeler60
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1286550

Reported Deaths: 19553
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles4218817782
San Bernardino991041154
Riverside900891457
San Diego861421040
Orange816531586
Kern42937451
Sacramento39367591
Fresno39324488
Santa Clara36673495
Alameda30980522
San Joaquin26784519
Contra Costa25264261
Stanislaus22876433
Tulare21789314
Ventura21208185
Imperial16507358
Monterey16064124
San Francisco16058161
San Mateo15040170
Sonoma12795160
Merced12427185
Santa Barbara11720138
Kings1155589
Solano1111981
Marin7873129
Placer694172
Madera648290
San Luis Obispo637838
Shasta536552
Yolo506881
Santa Cruz476633
Butte424460
Sutter373319
Napa329818
El Dorado26384
Yuba231011
Lassen22203
San Benito200717
Tehama180026
Mendocino165723
Nevada145510
Tuolumne112811
Glenn99611
Humboldt9939
Lake97221
Colusa7566
Siskiyou7524
Amador74016
Mono5773
Calaveras55322
Del Norte3841
Inyo31416
Plumas2390
Trinity1700
Modoc1620
Mariposa1483
Alpine520
Sierra230
Unassigned00
Medford
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Klamath Falls
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