Obama Portland Visit Will Impact Highways to Oregon Coast
(Portland, Oregon) – President Obama's visit to Portland is expected to create numerous traffic issues around the area, but these will spill out into traffic heading to and from the Oregon coast at least a little on Thursday and Friday.
The vast majority of traffic headaches will be experienced by those crossing Portland through downtown and I-84 on Thursday. But some major tie-ups will snarl Highway 26 to and from the Oregon coast, as well as spill over to Highway 6 and even Highway 18 at various points, although mostly on Friday morning as the President seems likely to visit Nike in Beaverton that (although this hasn't been confirmed).
Traffic all over Portland will be affected by the downtown closures, starting at 2 p.m. on Thursday. This will cause issues well past the 8 p.m. lifting of the shutdown, as many will still be stuck on the roads at that point. At the heart of the highway backups heading west is the fact so many will be taking alternative routes, which will clog I-5, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Highways 26 and even 30. Highway 18 towards McMinnville and the central coast will be experiencing extra vehicles on that road as well.
If you are heading into Portland from the coast after 2 p.m. or trying to get to the coast, you'll have loads of competition for space on the streets. Everyone else will be forced onto alternative routes at that time.
Although it is likely traffic will thin out to a tolerable level once you get past Hillsboro and towards to the Coast Range. Keep in mind, however, there will likely still be those using such alternative routes for a while after 8 p.m.
Traffic will be aplenty on Thursday on these westward routes, but nothing compared to what happens if Obama does indeed head to Nike the following day.
Closures of 217 are likely on Friday morning but they are certain on Highway 26. The President is scheduled to be at Nike by 9 a.m. for an appearance, but when he will leave is unknown. How long this will tie up roads like 26, 18 and 6 closest to the Metro area is unknown.
Again, there will be a cumulative effect from traffic that has been backed up by taking alternative routes. Delays heading to the coast could last long enough just to be greeted by rush hour traffic.
You can see Oregon coast traffic updates here, although do not depend on the ODOT traffic cams in areas close to Portland because these are often put on a loop feed during a presidental visit.
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