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Hwy. 26 reopens over Mt. Hood after 3-hour closure


(Update: Hwy. 26 reopens, backups linger)

Crowded Highway 26 over Mount Hood was hit by “extreme winter driving conditions” Sunday evening, closing the road for about three hours and causing big backups as travelers returning home from the holiday weekend mixed with traffic leaving ski areas. ODOT diverted traffic around Mt. Hood for a time and urged motorists to use another route.

A seven-mile stretch of the highway was closed by about 6:30 p.m., between milepost 54 and 61 (from Government Camp to Frog Lake), according to ODOT TripCheck.

In addition, state Highway 35 was blocked northbound from Highway 26, ODOT Region 4 spokesman Peter Murphy said.

“ODOT is attempting to respond, but subject to blockages as well,” the agency’s first travel alert said. “Motorists are urged to not travel on unfamiliar roads and to not leave vehicles unattended in snow plow zones. Motorists should exercise extreme patience as ODOT attempts to clear blockages and congestion.”

“Use an alternate route and expect long delays,” the agency said.

Shortly before 9 p.m., ODOT said in an update: “Due to extreme driving conditions on Mt. Hood, ODOT is diverting westbound US26 traffic around Mt. Hood via OR216 to US197, northbound to The Dalles and I-84, and then to Portland.”

“Motorists are urged to not travel to Portland via US26 at this time,” the alert added.

The roads reopened by around 9:30 p.m., though ODOT warned of continued congestion.

Earlier in the day, a disabled vehicle Sunday afternoon made for backups and slow going over Santiam Pass, also dealing with snowy conditions.

Track updates at our ODOT TripCheck page.

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