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ODOT reopens Oregon Highway 22 through fire-ravaged Santiam Canyon

Highway 22 fire damage
ODOT file
Highway 22 in Santiam Canyon was among state's hardest-hit areas
Hwy. 22 burned area ODOT
Truck rolls through area on Highway 22 closed after wildfire swept through Santiam Canyon
Gates photo HIghway 22 open 2020-10-14
Sign near Gates tells motorists Highway 22 through fire-stricken Santiam Valley has reopened, more than a month after wildfire devastated area.

More than 30,000 hazard trees have been removed along 40-mile stretch

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon Highway 22 in the fire-ravaged Santiam Canyon reopened to through traffic at 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced.

Sections of the highway have been closed to traffic or controlled with pilot cars since Sept. 7, when a wind storm and series of wildfires caused devastating damage to communities and created a series of hazards for travelers. Limited travel with pilot cars has been in place for several weeks.

ODOT estimates that over 30,000 hazard trees have been removed along a 40-mile stretch of OR 22 that was heavily impacted by the winds and wildfires. Hazard trees are dead, dying or leaning trees that were damaged by the wildfires, and would likely come down on the highway, posing a risk to travelers.

The agency said travelers should be aware of the following:

  • The speed limit is reduced to 40 mph between Gates (milepost 33) and Pamelia Creek Road (milepost 63).
  • Significant work continues in the canyon, and travelers should expect delays throughout the burn area.
  • Utility companies are working throughout the corridor to repair power lines. Utilities and ODOT continue to cut down hazard trees.
  • In addition to the ongoing work zones, hazards to travelers include damaged guardrail, roadside log decks and slash piles from the hazard tree removal, as well as the potential for falling rocks.
  • With fall and winter rains beginning, slides and debris flows are a particular concern, especially in areas where the vegetation, tree roots and underbrush have been stripped away.
  • Since many businesses and other facilities were damaged or destroyed by the fires, there are limited services available throughout the Santiam Canyon. Fill your gas tank, pack enough water, food and other supplies for the journey.
  • Travelers are urged to use extreme caution while traveling through the burn area. Add extra travel time or consider using an alternative route.

Access for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, will be available and identified through or around the work zones.

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