Medford, OR – According to the state officials, multiple slide areas along a mile stretch of highway brought rock, mud, and other debris across the road, completely covering it – in some areas up to fifteen feet high.
Power and other utility lines are down.
This is expected to be a lengthy closure of several days or more.
Travelers will need to use alternate routes between Burns and Vale and are advised to stay on main state highways.
Other local routes may also be impacted.
ODOT crews worked through the night and all of today to open a one-lane access corridor through the debris field.
Loaders working from both ends of the slide helped rescue three stranded motorists who were stuck between two slide areas.
No injuries have been reported so far, and the stranded travelers were able to drive out after being provided gasoline.
A portion of the opened corridor was later plugged with a new flow of debris this afternoon.
ODOT crews, Oregon State Police, and utility workers continue to address impacts caused by the slide that occurred after heavy rainfall.
ODOT’s estimates 10,000 to 15,000 cubic yards of rock, mud, and debris will need to be removed and disposed of from the roadway and right of way. Crews will continue with debris removal to clear the roadway. ODOT is coordinating with utility companies until the route can safety be reopen to traffic.
Please stay away from the area so utilities, ODOT and other crews can address this issue. Due to down power/utility lines and unstable slopes, it is not safe.