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ODOT gets ‘lifeline’ route to powerless, cut-off Oakridge


The Oregon Department of Transportation said Tuesday its crews and contractors have opened a “lifeline” route to the town of Oakridge in Lane County, where residents have been without power and cut off from the outside world after a powerful winter storm toppled dozens of trees Sunday and closed state Highway 58.

In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, ODOT said it is escorting utiluty crews into the Lane County community of 3,000 “to make the necessary infrastructure and power line repairs to get the power turned on.”

Also, the agency said, a fuel delivery was escorted into Oakridge from U.S. Highway 97 on the east side.

ODOT said the closure of the highway otherwise “will remain indefinitely” due to the downed trees and hazardous conditions, but the agency “will continue to escort mission-critical services into Oakridge and stranded motorists out. ”

There’s no estimate on when the highway will reopen, as There are still more trees to clear and snow to plow before OR 58 can be opened to regular vehicle traffic,” the agency said.

Sally Harmon, who runs Tired Dog Ranch near Oakridge, told Oregon Public Broadcasting the snow is nearly two feet deep and very wet. She said there were close to three-dozen trees down over a 2 1/2-mile stretch of highway.

OPB reported it could take a week to restore power.

An Amtrak train with nearly 200 passengers that got stuck in Oakridge on Sunday reached Eugene on Tuesday.

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