The Oregon Department of Transportation said Thursday a section of Interstate 84 near the Eagle Creek Fire will remain closed through the weekend — and possibly even longer.
During a tour of fire damage along I-84, ODOT spokesman Dave Thompson said there is no current estimate for when the major east-west highway in the region will reopen.
“I’ve got to say that I- 84 at this moment is a bit of a mess,” said Thompson, “just because of the number of tress that have fallen, the number of trees that might fall, the number of rocks that are all over the road.”
As crews continue to clean up from the Eagle Creek Fire, which started Saturday and has now burned more than 33,000 acres, Thompson said workers will prioritize opening the westbound lane first.
Thompson said he understands that news is likely to upset truckers, who heavily use the eastbound lane of I-84. Thompson said the eastbound lane of the highway is in more danger from damaged trees and will take more work to ready for travel.
“We literally had our snow plows out there pushing trees out of the way,” he said.
ODOT crews need to assess around 2,000 trees to see whether they are at risk of falling on the road.
In some cases, Thompson said, it’s still unsafe to even send assessment crews out onto the highway.