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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.
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.
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).
- Drivers must carry chains or traction tires. Check latest conditions on TripCheck.
- 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.
- Drivers must carry chains or traction tires at this time.
U.S. Highway 199
- ODOT is requiring drivers to carry chains or traction tires through Hayes Hill.
U.S. Highway 97
- Chains or traction tires are required on all vehicles just outside of Weed.
- ODOT is reporting black ices in stretches of Hwy 97 north of Klamath Falls. Drivers are required to carry chains.
- Chains are required on semi trucks near Lake of the Woods. ODOT is reporting packed snow on the road.
- 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.