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South Oregon Coast Highway Segment Near Port Orford Reopens with Temporary Lane

Published 01/14/23 at 5:19 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

South Oregon Coast Highway Segment Near Port Orford Reopens with Temporary Lane

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(Port Orford, Oregon) – One extremely inconvenient road closure on the southern Oregon coast is lightening up the burden a bit. The Highway 101 shut down 12 miles south of Port Orford is now open to one lane of traffic. A single and temporary gravel lane opened late afternoon on Friday after a landslide on Monday severely damaged the road, dropping parts of it by as much as 12 feet.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews are there to flag vehicle traffic through the singular lane, along with pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The area is about 200 yards through the collapsed segment of Highway 101. Those traveling in the area should expect delays.

ODOT urged motorists to be cautious near equipment and people working there.

“The temporary lane has no vehicle weight restrictions, and it can accommodate up to 14-foot-wide loads,” ODOT said. “Wider loads will be evaluated on a case by case basis.”

There was no local detour for this shut down, with the only route going south or north meant traveling rather slow roads inland to I-5 and then back to the coast on other small roadways. A good portion of that traffic required going all the way down through California and then back to the Oregon coast. Each way meant an additional few hours of drivetime or more. The broken road was not even passable for emergency vehicles.

The temporary lane was built this week by Tidewater Contractors from Brookings.

“We thank Tidewater for their quick, efficient work,” said Glen Pederson, ODOT district manager. “As a local contractor, they understood how important it was to get the highway open for their communities.”

ODOT engineers and staff are keeping a close eye on any possible activity in the coming weeks, but the landslide appears to have been stable since Tuesday.

The area has been very prone to serious landslides in the past, and ODOT remains cautious about this section of highway.

“We may need to close the highway again with short notice if we detect further slide activity,” ODOT said.

ODOT said it should be able to open additional temporary lanes made of gravel in the next few weeks. However, a long term and cost-effective way to repair this stretch of road will take some time determine. The frequency of slides and sinking road incidents in this stretch is a major challenge.

The area is near Arizona State Recreation Site. This incident began on January 2 when some holes opened up along that area, getting patched fairly quickly. On January 9, major parts of the soil above started coming down and large cracks in the highway quickly grew to giant chunks that broke apart. PHOTOS OF THE ORIGINAL INCIDENT BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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