Winter storms close highways

Highway 126 experienced rain, slow and slush on Monday and Tuesday as winter weather caused closures between Noti and Mapleton. Oregon Department of Transportation’s RoadCams tracks the temperature and other conditions that people can check via TripCheck.com. Traffic halted on Highway 101 north of Florence on Saturday as a landslide covered 40 yards of roadway for six hours.

Heavy rain and snow cause landslide on 101, accidents on 126

Dec. 15, 2021 — The weather has truly turned frightful this December, especially the early part of this week. On Saturday, Dec. 11, Highway 101 was closed for six hours due to a landslide.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) closed a section of the highway approximately 10 miles north of Florence. The debris from the hillside on the east side of Highway 101 deposited dirt and undergrowth along 40 yards of roadway and blocked traffic in both directions until ODOT was able to clear the blockage.

As the storms continued, hazardous travel conditions arose Monday and Tuesday as snow fell on the pass at Badger Mountain. Highway 126 between Noti and Walton experienced multiple vehicle crashes throughout both days while temperatures remained below 35 degrees.

Wintry weather was expected to continue this week, and both Mapleton and Siuslaw school districts had a two-hour delay for school on Tuesday.

In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the West Coast Range, with snow accumulation expected up to 2 inches.

“The main accumulations are occurring around Cougar pass Summit between Mapleton and Veneta,” NOAA reported. “Snow will mix with rain at the lower elevations of the Central Coast Range with light accumulations possible on the roads.”

Both ODOT and NOAA had advice for driving on slippery roads this winter.

“Travelers should plan for slippery road conditions,” ODOT posted. “Be prepared, give yourself extra time, and drive for conditions. People can go to www.tripcheck.com or call 511 for current road conditions.”

ODOT also encouraged travelers to carry chains or have traction tires as winter conditions continue.

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