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UPDATE: S. Oregon Coast Landslide Part of Highway Partially Back Open

Published 01/13/23 at 4:19 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

S. Oregon Coast Landslide Sinks Highway Up to 12 Feet, Adds Hours of Drive Time

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(Port Orford, Oregon) – UPDATE: One lane of U.S. Highway 101 is open to all traffic 12 miles south of Port Orford as of 3:30 p.m. today (Friday). The temporary gravel lane reopens the highway


A major landslide on the south Oregon coast has closed one part of Highway 101 for an indeterminate time, and it's causing detours that add a few hours to anyone's trip in that area. (Photos courtesy ODOT)

Monday, a landslide occurred on Highway 101 near Arizona State Recreation Site, about 12 miles south of Port Orford. Some 200 yards dropped fairly steeply, and as much as 12 feet in some segments.

Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT) Matt Noble said crews first noticed some landslide activity on January 2, when large cracks began forming in the pavement at that spot. While it was quickly patched up, by Friday a hole began developing in the northbound lane, which resulted in a lane closure and 24-flagging for the safety of travelers.

The first major incident occurred on Monday morning at 3 a.m. with a five-foot drop in the roadway. ODOT closed Highway 101, however the roadway continued sinking through the day, eventually slowing to a halt in the afternoon

Noble said geotechnical engineers have been on site since, evaluating the scene and checking for any additional movement in the road.

Noble hinted this could be a long closure, with as yet no estimate on when it might be cleared.

Even worse for motorists: there is absolutely no local detour.

The only routes north or south involve taking Oregon Highway 42 and adding hours to the trip. Any destination south of Port Orford means taking I-5 down to California and then over to the California coast, then going back up through the border into the south Oregon coast.

Several parts of the Oregon coast are known for landslides, especially this section of the south coast between Port Orford and Ophir. This particular one is known as the “Arizona Slide,” where major road events have happened since the '80s.

“The last big Arizona Slide event occurred in 1993 and closed U.S. 101 for over a week,” Noble said.

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Below: Cape Blanco near Port Orford, courtesy ODOT

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