Salem, OR -- Oregon's Department of Transportation says Interstate 84 could stay closed well into Tuesday in eastern Oregon after wintry driving left some drivers in pile-up crashes.
ODOT says, "Three busloads of stranded motorists were transported from the crash site earlier today and most drivable passenger vehicles have been routed to Pendleton or La Grande, along with a few semis. Several dozen crashed semis and passenger vehicles remain on the freeway, as well as several dozen blocked semis with drivers remaining on site, waiting to get unblocked."
I-84 closed eastbound and westbound to all traffic due to multiple-vehicle crashes around noon Monday near milepost 230. ODOT says eastbound I-84 is closed between Exit 216 (six miles east of Pendleton) and Exit 265 (La Grande) and westbound I-84 is closed to between Exit 374 (Ontario) and Exit 216. "The westbound freeway remains closed at Ontario due to limited parking space in Baker City and La Grande," ODOT said.
It says local traffic might be able to access the westbound highway between Ontario and Baker City to get home (check for more information by clicking the closure icon on TripCheck.com). "Due to the number of vehicles that still need to be towed the westbound freeway is not expected to be open until tomorrow noon or later. Crews are working to get the eastbound freeway open in the next few hours. It is currently closed to allow emergency responders and numerous tow trucks safe access to the crash site."
OR 204 (Tollgate Highway) and OR 245 are closed to all but local traffic as they are not viable detour routes for Interstate highway traffic.
ODOT says westbound travelers stranded in Ontario should stay until the freeway opens. "If you feel you must travel, U.S. 20 is the recommended alternate route when I-84 is closed for long periods. It is also in better condition (minimal snow) than U.S. 26 or other state routes in the area. Be aware that U.S. 20 already has heavy truck traffic and there are many curves and few safe passing opportunities. Please take it slow and do not attempt to pass."
Oregon's Department of Transportation also advises drivers to avoid following GPS navigation app or devices, as they can lead drivers to "remote routes with little or no winter maintenance. If you travel, stay on state highways and expect winter conditions and heavier than normal traffic."
Because weather and driving conditions can change quickly ODOT invites drivers to check TripCheck.com for condition updates or call 511 / 800-977-6368. Outside Oregon, call 503-588-2941.