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Snowy travel woes mount; Hwy. 97 reopens at Calif. border

Hwy. 97 Ore-Calif 1-16
ODOT, Caltrans webcams
Snow and ice prompted closure of Hwy. 97 at the Oregon-Calif. border for a time Thursday morning
Blower clearing Oregon Hwys. 138-230 junction near Diamond Lake 1-15
ODOT blower clears snow at Oregon Hwys. 138-230 junction near Diamond Lake on Wednesday

(Update: Hwy. 97 shut for a time; other road updates)

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Travel woes continue to abound across Oregon from days of heavy snow and wind, with U.S. Highway 97 closed for a time at the California border Thursday morning and chains required on some mountain passes and on Interstate 5 near the border.

Highway 97 was closed due to snow and poor driving conditions south of Dorris, California, and into the Weed-Mt. Shasta area. It was reopened before 9:30 a.m., but ODOT still warned to "expect severe winter driving conditions and delays today. If you don't need to go, don't."

U.S. Highway 199 (the Redwood Highway) was closed at the California border to the intersection with California 197 due to downed trees and power lines from snow in the Smith River Canyon, officials said.

ODOT warned before dawn of delays as well on Interstate 5 over the Siskiyous, where chains were required on all vehicles but 4-by-4s, unless towing. Several other passes and routes in the area had chains required on large trucks or vehicles that were towing.

Near Mount Hood, eastbound U.S. Highway 26 was closed early Thursday west of Government Camp due to numerous spinouts in the snow and ice. Traffic there was heavier due to the weather-related closure of Interstate 84 at Troutdale.

The early-morning closure of eastbound I-84 from Troutdale to Hood River due to several trucks that spun out near Bonneville Dam was lifted after 6 a.m., but chains or traction tires were required and travelers were warned to plan for extra travel time.

Eastbound lanes were being held up while ODOT crews helped get the trucks cleared. Westbound lanes ere open, but taffic was moving very slowly in the snow and ice. Chains or traction tires were required for travel over Mount Hood.

High winds forced crews out of the High Cascades road closure area Wednesday afternoon, officials said. An Oregon Highway 62 closure closure was extended back to Prospect from Union Creek.

The other closures include Highway 138, from Toketee to U.S. Highway 97 and Oregon 62/230 closed at Prospect.

Crews will reevaluate conditions Thursday, but with another foot of snow forecast by then, cleanup work will be evaluated day by day.

In northeast Oregon, Interstate 84 was closed Wednesday evening between Pendleton and Ontario due to high winds, blowing snow and zero visibility at times throughout areas of Umatilla and Union counties.

"Conditions are bad enough that ODOT snow plows covering the Ladd Canyon area are parked at interchanges, waiting for the wind to die down," an advisory said.

At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, ODOT updated to report eastbound I-84 was closed between Exit 216 (six miles east of Pendleton) and North Powder at Exit 285 due to severe conditions on Cabbage Hill and Ladd Canyon.

Westbound, the freeway was closed between Ontario and La Grande, but officials said local traffic may be able to access the freeway between Ontario and Baker City. Click on the TripCheck closure icon in Ontario for details about this local traffic option.

"If you venture out and get stuck in areas with severe conditions, you could be stranded for an extended period," they warned. "Stay home, stay safe and check for update information and a map showing state highway closures. Or call 511 / 800-977-6368. Outside Oregon call 503-588-2941.

Oregon Highway 11 was closed in Umatilla County, five miles east of Pendleton, from milepost 5 to milepost 30 near Milton-Freewater due to blowing snow, limited visibility and slick conditions.

Oregon Highway 204 remained closed to all but local traffic between Oregon Highway 11 at milepost zero and Elgin at milepost 40.

Follow the latest conditions at KTVZ.COM's ODOT TripCheck page.

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