EB I-84 will remain closed through weekend after rock slide, ODOT says

EB I-84 will remain closed through weekend after rock slide, ODOT says »Play Video
This photo from Chopper 2 shows the rock slide blocking eastbound I-84. (KATU photo)

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- A rock slide has blocked both eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge and according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the lanes will remain closed through the weekend.

ODOT says it hopes to get one eastbound lane reopened sometime Monday.
The slide happened around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night near mile post 61 just west of Hood River.

ODOT eventually shut down the eastbound lanes of I-84 at Troutdale because of the rock slide.

Westbound traffic is able to get through the area.

ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie said crews need daylight to clear the freeway and evaluate the slope to make sure it is safe.

"That is a lot of rock and it is not going to clean up quickly," said Dinwiddie. "We want to make sure the highway is safe before we open it."

About 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris fell onto the road, according to ODOT.

ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said the hill on the south side of I-84 gave way and enough earth slid onto the freeway to push the jersey barriers into the westbound lanes.

Dan Koopman was caught in the slide as he was driving.

"I saw this burst of debris cloud coming off the cliff," said Koopman. "I caught it in my right line of sight. It was just on me and I knew right what it was."

Large boulders pushed Koopman's Ford Focus into the jersey barrier. He quickly jumped out of the car when he heard more rocks falling.

"I had an irresistible urge to get up out of my vehicle as fast as I could because I thought I was going to get trapped," said Koopman.

Koopman wasn't seriously injured but believed he may have bruised some ribs.

>>Watch him tell his story

Alternate routes

ODOT says one alternate route around the closure is U.S. 26 east to OR 35, and then north to I-84 in Hood River.

"These highways are icy in spots, so please exercise caution: slow down and leave more room between cars. Please expect delays and slow-moving trucks," ODOT said in a news release.

Another alternate route is I-205 north into Washington; then SR-14 east to Hood River and back across the Hood River Bridge to continue on I-84 east. Over-sized loads are not allowed on SR-14, ODOT said.

Drivers should expect delays.

SR-14 Rock slides

Just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, a two-ton boulder crashed down onto SR-14 near Bingen, Wash. where another slide happened in the morning. Crews have cleared the boulder.

And unrelated to any rock slide, two cars crash on SR-14 near the Bridge of the Gods, killing one person Thursday afternoon. All lanes were closed for several hours before Washington State Patrol cleared the scene.

Watch Dan Koopman tell his story:

KATU's Lincoln Graves contributed to this story.