Sinkhole stops 101 traffic on holiday’s eve, repaving afterward

Highway 101 was closed in both directions south of Wheeler to fix a sinkhole, which worsened June 26.
“We need to dig and replace a failed culvert,” Dan Weber, Tillamook maintenance manager, said. “It’s separated and collapsed and has a big hole on top.”

Weber said the culvert was buried 20 feet deep under the road.

ODOT closed Highway 101 at milepost 48, just south of Wheeler, at 6 p.m. Thursday to replace the culvert and repair the road. Crews repaired the road and reopened it at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“The communities wanted to make sure the public knew they were still open and can still be reached,” Don Hamilton, ODOT Public Information Officer, said.

According to a statement Thursday, Hamilton said towns as far north as Brighton remained accessible on Highway 101. Wheeler remained accessible to southbound traffic on Highway 101. Until the highway reopened, Hamilton said through traffic would need to get around the closure via the signed detour using Highway 53 and Miami River Road.

“[Thursday] morning, we got our team together: a geologist, a hydrologist and a video crew to see what’s going on down in the road,” Hamilton said. “We’ve seen sinkholes open up around the region. We’re investigating whether the issue on 101 is winter weather related.”

With the Independence Day holiday over, crews will return for paving.