N. Oregon Coast Roadwork Finished, Slide Detour Near Oceanside Opens
(Oceanside, Oregon) – It's the emergency repair that took five months and detoured traffic in a fairly major tourist route during the height of the season (photo of the project courtesy ODOT).
Now, Highway 131, also known as the Old Netarts Highway, is back open as of late afternoon on Friday, after five months of road repair and $1.5 million in labor and materials were needed to fix the effects of a landslide that happened on July 18. It occurred right near Happy Camp, at milepost 19, along a tiny stretch of the Three Capes Loop that led from the tiny neighborhood of Netarts to a winding section of road that brought you to Oceanside. The work and detour shut off access to Oceanside from the south, and the only way to get to that town was from the north, by taking a longer route along Bayocean Road, onto the Three Capes Loop, and then past Cape Meares Lighthouse.
The detour caused considerable headache for motorists on the north Oregon coast – both visitor and locals alike – and it happened during the big rush of the high season, essentially July, August and early September. Many locals complained it dented business, but at least as many said the good weather and other factors caused the season to come out financially intact.
Whatever complaints were raised, this section of road had the repair coming for a long time. ODOT District Manager Dave Neyes said the Happy Camp slide was really the tip of the iceberg in many ways, as that section of road was steadily cracking and slumping.
“It became more pronounced during last winter and spring’s heavy rains,” Neyes said.
ODOT crews were working on paving over the problems during the early summer, keeping one lane open. The landscape continued moving beneath them, however. In July, the sliding action greatly accelerated and the road had to be closed for safety reasons.
It quickly became clear this was not going to be a simple fix, and chunks of the land continued to surprise ODOT by moving even more, complicating and further elongating the road fix.
Neyes said crews had to work on stabilizing the slope first, which entailed building a buttress at the bottom of the slide.
“A rock buttress is similar to a large retaining wall built below the ground level,” Neyes said. “It works similar to a doorstop to keep the slide from moving.”
A second retaining wall was then built at the road level to stabilize the roadway. More paving, a guardrail and vegetation to prevent further erosion rounded out the project.
Neyes predicted this should be a safer and smoother ride along this scenic area.
Oceanside is about 20 minutes drive from Pacific City, 55 minutes drive from Cannon Beach, 45 minutes from Manzanita, and 15 minutes from Tillamook.
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