NEAR HOOD RIVER, Ore. – At 7 p.m. Friday the Oregon Department of Transportation opened the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 to passenger cars only from Troutdale to Cascade Locks after a rock slide near Hood River.
Nearly 2,000 cubic yards of rocks and debris plunged down the side of the hill and onto the freeway Wednesday night just west of Hood River near mile post 61.
The eastbound lanes of the freeway are still closed to all traffic and ODOT said trucks and RVs still won't be allowed to drive from Troutdale to Cascade Locks.
ODOT said it opened that section to passenger cars after residents of Cascade Locks and communities west of the town asked for greater access to those areas.
One lane of I-84 westbound is open between Hood River and Troutdale. ODOT warns that drivers should expect delays.
Meanwhile, crews worked to clean up the mess and stabilize the hillside Friday after the rock slide forced the closure of eastbound Interstate 84 from Troutdale to just west of Hood River.
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, it’ll be likely sometime Monday before one eastbound lane is reopened to all traffic.
On Friday, the fear was that more rocks could come down. The face of the rocky hillside is shaky. Crews at the top of the 150-foot hill beat the loose rock out. It was a slow process, but once the rock face is stable, the cleanup can start and crews can move the boulders, some the size of pickup trucks, out of the interstate.
“There's a crane over there ready so that when they can get it safe, we'll have our engineers up physically inspecting the front of the rock face,” said Jason Tell of ODOT. “The biggest concern is the material to the west that's the piece they're watching closely.”
Thawing ice, high wind and rain loosened up the rock and has led to the slide.
Getting around the slide
There are two major routes to Hood River that you can use as alternatives if you have to go that way this weekend.
The busiest will probably be a cross-over to SR-14 in Washington and then cross the Hood River bridge. That will cost you a dollar toll.
The southern route is using Highway 26 east to Highway 35 north into Hood River.