Cleanup and repair continues following last months record heavy rain and windstorms that triggered landslides and floods in Lincoln County, the Oregon Coast and across the state.
JEREMY C. RUARK
Tillamook County, followed by Lincoln County, were hit the hardest during the recent series of winter storms that dropped torrential, record breaking rainfall on Northwest Oregon, according to Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) spokesman Lou Torres. However, other counties such as Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Yamhill and Polk counties also were hit hard.
“The weather event put a huge strain on most roads in the region,” Torres said. “There were numerous flooded and failed culverts, slides, slumps, sinkholes, flooding and high water, trees and debris down, etc. While we have made a number of emergency repairs, we are still currently working on other more extensive repairs, and there will be more to follow.”
Torres said the cost to repair and stabilize the storm-damaged roads will be expensive.
“For Region 2, it will likely be well over $1 million,” he said. “The U.S. 101 milepost 48 slide repair alone will cost around $400,000. We hope to have a better idea of the total cost sometime this month.”
Torres said most of the repair funds will come from the federal government following the governor’s declaration of emergency which made the state eligible for such emergency funds.
Torres said there is much work to be done in Lincoln County.
“Oregon Highway 18 has three sunken grade locations that have been moving for years,” he said. “All of these are patched as necessary and were paved as recently as Dec. 22 following the storms.”
Other Highway 18 issues:
- At Boyer (milepost 13.8) – A geo/hydro crew has installed instruments and is monitoring the site to determine repairs that will be needed.
- At East Boyer (milepost 14.2) – The highway is usually slow moving, and no project is scheduled.
- At Murphy (Hill) (milepost 17.5) – The highway has been studied in the past, and no project is scheduled.
U.S. Highway 101 has three significant long-standing sunken grade locations, according to Torres. All were paved as recently as Dec. 21 and Dec. 29 following the storms.
Additional Highway 101 work includes:
- Johnson Creek at milepost 133.3 – A project is planned for 2017 to add drainage and slow the movement.
- Carmel at milepost 135.5 – The highway was realigned about 10 years ago which has slowed the movement, but not eliminated it.
- Moolack at milepost 136.5 – A project is planned for 2017 to study the slide to see what can be done with future projects.
Torres said two locations that are sliding and eroding along the west side of Highway 101. ODOT is monitoring and repairing the slides as necessary.
- Whale Cove at milepost 129.5 – New damage did occur as a result of the recent storm. ODOT staff is designing a repair.
- Beverly Beach at milepost 134-135 shoulder – The area has been eroding for several years. ODOT monitors the site frequently. Crews have installed curbs to keep vehicles from parking too close to the edge. ODOT staff is exploring whether the area warrants no parking signs.
Torres said ODOT is also monitoring U.S. Highway 20 at milepost 2, an area that has seen significant erosion to the shoulder.
“ODOT crews will continue to routinely monitor these areas,” Torres said. “Unfortunately, long-term fixes for many of these slides are far beyond our available resources, so it is more cost effective to continue to patch and repair them.”
Torres said several major repairs have been made in Tillamook County
“We currently are repairing slide damage at milepost 48 on U.S. 101 south of Wheeler,” he said. “A contractor is putting in pile and a buttress. We have the location open to one lane with two-way traffic controlled by flaggers. The work should be completed in mid January.”
Torres said motorists will encounter numerous areas of rough road.
“Some areas that have sunk over the years have sunk more and a little faster since the record rainfall in December,” he said. “We have signs out in most areas of rough road urging travelers to slow down. They need to do so. We will patch and pave when and where we can. However, some of the work will have to wait until spring or this summer. We appreciate everyone’s patience.”