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Visitors can take in the scenery and see fire damage, but expect delays on the dead end drive

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Highway 224 will reopen Sunday, May 1, after more than a year of work by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Highway 224 will reopen Sunday, May 1, as planned but there won't be much to do except drive through and view the beauty of the area and devastation caused by the 2020 Riverside Fire.

"The Clackamas River corridor will mostly offer a driving, sightseeing experience this summer," the U.S. Forest Service said in an announcement.

Campgrounds, hiking trails, most parking and other facilities will be closed, some of them for years.

There will be a few spots where the Clackamas River will be accessible. Hole in the Wall and Moore Creek boat ramps will be open.

Forest Service roads, including 46, will all be closed, so the Highway 224 drive is essentially a dead end street. Drivers will have to turn around at Ripplebrook.

"Roadwork on the highway will continue in the corridor through the summer and you can expect flagger stops up to around 20 minutes. Watch for heavy equipment and trucks loaded with debris," the forest service warned.

The 138,000 acre Riverside Fire burned for months in late 2020 and charred the forest, claimed homes and structures, but caused no deaths. The fire came within a half-mile of Estacada city limits and it burned more than 10% of Clackamas County's land base.

ODOT has been working since the fire to clean up the area along Hwy. 224 and reopen it to traffic.

Crews have been removing dead trees, replacing signs, installing new guardrails and repairing and repaving the road, all to make the road safe again.

The forest service is not as far along on its work.

Forest service will be removing trees on hiking trails and in campgrounds and restoring and repairing the areas for reopening.

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