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Pack your patience if you’re traveling the Columbia River Gorge this weekend

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Date:  Friday, February 14, 2014

Contact: Abbi Russell, WSDOT communications, 360-690-5367

VANCOUVER – Travelers planning a weekend journey on State Route 14 through the Columbia River Gorge should pack their patience along with raincoats and umbrellas.

Traffic detouring around the closure of eastbound Interstate 84 in Oregon and dozens of rock slides continue to complicate travel on the two-lane highway. Heavy rain in the forecast means more rockfall potential over the next few days.

So far today, Feb. 14, Washington State Department of Transportation crews have responded to 34 reports of rocks falling or sliding onto SR 14 between Cape Horn and Maryhill.

Most of the slides were small and quickly cleared by WSDOT crews, but some brought large boulders down onto the highway and blocked traffic for periods of time.

Nine WSDOT maintenance employees will work around the clock this weekend to keep Gorge-area highways passable. Drivers should be vigilant when they travel, especially at night when it’s more difficult to see rocks in the roadway.

An added challenge for SR 14 travelers is the significant increase in traffic detouring around the closure of eastbound I-84. A large rockslide has been blocking the eastbound lanes of I-84 three miles east of Hood River since 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, and SR 14 is one of the recommended detours.

The Oregon Department of Transportation expects to open at least one lane of eastbound I-84 by Monday, Feb. 17, but until then, thousands of additional vehicles traveling SR 14 will mean congestion and delays on the scenic highway.

Drivers may consider delaying travel in the Gorge, but if that’s not possible, work extra time into your schedule and get informed before hitting the road.

WSDOT offers lots of ways to know before you go:

    •  Visit WSDOT’s Facebook page or follow us on Twitter
    •  Sign up for email updates
    •  Visit our Travel Alerts Web page
    •  Check traffic cameras along your route
    •  Call 511 or 1-800-695-ROAD


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