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Look for Traffic Challenges on Thanksgiving Weekend, Oregon Coast, Rest of State

Published 11/21/22 at 5:49 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Look for Traffic Challenges on Thanksgiving Weekend, Oregon Coast, Rest of State

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(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says the roads will be packed this weekend, not just around the Oregon coast but throughout the state. Thanksgiving this year means some extra traffic to the beaches because of the King Tides. But ODOT is more concerned about Thanksgiving traffic that is wet or snowy, as there will be plenty of that in places.

ODOT is issuing some advice and giving you a heads up on several aspects of travel around Oregon this weekend.

“Our crews are working through the feasting to keep your travels safe, but we could use your help,” said ODOT's Kacey Davey.

Snow on the roads and / or crashes will happen in various places and times over the weekend, and with staffing shortages you can expect some delays in clearing roads.

“We’re working to fill current vacant positions, but drivers should expect less snow plowing,” Davey said. “Similar lower levels of service will continue in the years to come without changes to our long-term funding, as we anticipate having fewer staff available.”

She asked travelers to be courteous and patient with crews on the scene, whether they are plowing or flagging traffic. Davey said ODOT has been seeing more close calls between crew and motorists. Safety has to be first consideration here – you're also affecting other people's lives. Those other people are trying to assist you.

Luckily, there is no snow predicted for the Oregon Coast Range, but plenty of rain could cause skidding hazards is tight traffic.

See Oregon Coast Road, Traffic Conditions, Updates 

Davey offered some tips for safe winter travel during the holiday season:

- The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, regardless of conditions. Expect delays, plan ahead, and allow extra travel time.

- Be careful when traveling over mountain passes. Check for road conditions. Many camera displays include temperature and other helpful information.

- Pay attention to roadside message signs. They contain critical information about conditions on the road ahead, like chain requirements. 

- Make sure you’re ready for wintry road conditions. Carry chains and know how to use them. In case of major delays, pack supplies for you and your passengers such as food, water, blankets, warm clothes and medications.

- Drive for conditions. Rain, snow, or extra traffic - slow down and give space for more stopping time, especially if the road is slick.

- Give snowplows extra space and never pass on the right. Be patient. The safest place to be when it's snowing is behind a plow.

- Make sure there’s a sober, focused and alert driver behind the wheel to help you get to and from your destinations. We all know that turkey makes us sleepy.

- Be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists who are often less visible in wintery weather. 

For more information, visit ODOT's winter driving tips website.

Most of ODOT's construction work will be paused over the holiday weekend to allow for extra traffic. Travelers in Corvallis on Saturday should expect traffic delays from the University of Oregon - Oregon State football game. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. 

Keep in mind there are often other, more relaxing ways to get around, like the Amtrak train in the Willamette Valley or your local public transit service. Some may be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Check out your many options for car-free travel on ODOT’s website.

No matter how or where you travel in Oregon, be prepared for changing conditions. Don’t forget to look out for each other, ODOT crews, and emergency responders on the road. Everyone deserves a safe holiday weekend.  

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Snow near Seaside last year, courtesy Angi D. Wildt Gallery

Snow at Boiler Bay, near Depoe Bay


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