OR 224 above Estacada re-opened Sunday after crews completed the final cleanup needed to make the road safe after the Labor Day 2020 wildfires.
Also Sunday, the U.S. Forest Service opened the Hole in the Wall and Moore Creek boat access day sites and Big Eddy day use site. All other Forest Service recreation facilities in the Clackamas River Corridor will remain closed at least through the remainder of 2022.
“These communities experienced real hardships as a result of the massive wildfires of 2020,” said Rian Windsheimer, ODOT Portland area manager. ”Today, ODOT and our partners are pleased to celebrate the reopening of this road, but much more forest recovery work still lies ahead of us.”
Recovery work in the corridor will continue after the road opens. This summer, visitors will encounter road closures of up to 20 minutes at varying locations, seven days a week, and will see trucks loaded with debris, rock scaling work and asphalt being repaired.
The Forest Service, ODOT, Portland General Electric and other partners have been joined by private contractors in preparing the road for its re-opening. The extent of the wildfire damage was staggering, keeping 18 miles of OR 224 closed for 20 months.
The work involved:
- Clearing miles of ditches of the debris left by the fire.
- Repairing and replacing 11 miles of damaged and destroyed highway guardrails at 11 sites.
- Removing tens of thousands of dead and dying danger trees that threatened the road.
- Replacing scores of highway signs destroyed by the fire.
- Installation of restraining mesh to help hold back future rockfall.
- Rock-scaling to bring down loose rocks from the steep hillsides, work that continues this spring.
Work is underway to re-seed with native plants to reduce weeds.
Patching of OR 224 potholes will continue this spring with paving of the damaged sections this summer when the weather warms up.