Highways for Monday
December 8, 2013
UPDATE ON STATE HIGHWAYS IN LANE, LINN, BENTON, LINCOLN AND POLK COUNTIES
The Monday morning commute in Lane, Linn and Benton counties promises to be less adventurous than Friday morning's but it will still demand reduced speed and cautious driving despite the 24 hour plowing and sanding schedule of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
While Interstate 5 has been restored to bare pavement, patches of ice and snow pack will be encountered by motorists traveling all secondary highway Monday morning, including OR 34, US 20, OR 126, OR 99W and OR 58.
However, the amount of bare pavement has been increased greatly as the result of the long, twelve hour shifts of ODOT maintenance crews.
The commute was the focus of snow removal in the metro areas of Albany, Corvallis and Eugene/Springfield today, while outlying areas continued to be plowed and sanded in the continuing effort to get to bare pavement. In the aftermath of one of the heaviest snowfalls in the past 20 years, that goal may not be realized until mid-week in many areas.
With more than 50 plow sanders, graders, de-icing trucks and other equipment in operation in the counties, crews spent the day focusing on making highway ramps, bridges, shady areas and curves safer by plowing and sanding. The extreme low temperatures overnight and in the early morning hours make the application of de-icer ineffective. Motorists should reduce speed on any elevated roadway or shaded stretch.
In Albany and Corvallis, a fleet of sanders and plows (see attached photo) concentrated on the student paths to Linn-Benton Community College and Oregon State University in an effort to make sure students could travel safely to final exams. Overnight sanding will continue on OR 99E, OR 34 and US 20.
West of Corvallis, ODOT crews worked through the night to cut through the snow pack on US 20, where 60 percent of the roadway is now down to bare pavement between Philomath and Blodgett.
On the Oregon Coast, crews have reached bare pavement on 80 top 90 percent of US 101 and OR 18 in Lincoln and Polk counties. The remaining icy spots have been heavily sanded.
In the Eugene/Springfield area, crews made good progress getting to bare pavement on the Randy Pape Beltline, I-105 and OR 126, the Officer Chris Kilcullen Memorial Highway, as well as OR 99 between Eugene and Junction City. Roughly 50 percent of the highways are down to bare pavement, but motorists will experience sanded snow pack Monday morning and should travel with caution. Crews will focus on sanding overnight, in preparation for safer morning travel.
Partial pavement has been reached on both ends of OR 126, where commuters from Vida and Veneta will encounter heavily sanded snow pack Monday morning.
While the state highways will be in better shape Monday morning, motorists will still experience challenging conditions. Reduced speed and keeping a greater distance between vehicles will be very important to a safe commute.