Rockslides delay reopening of Historic Columbia River Highway
Recent rockslides near Oneonta and Horsetail falls have delayed plans to reopen a six-mile section of the Historic Columbia River Highway that has been closed since the Eagle Creek Fire.
The historic highway between Bridal Veil and Ainsworth State Park has remained closed since Sept. 4, 2017, two days after the start of the fire.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) had plans to reopen the section of road in the fall, but rocks continue to fall in the area, and they recently spilled across hiking trails and the highway.
The department is assessing what safety measures are needed before the road can reopen, ODOT said in a statement.
The Eagle Creek Fire was started by a then-15-year-old boy throwing fireworks into the Eagle Creek Canyon west of Cascade Locks. In May, the boy was sentenced to pay $36 million in restitution and serve 1,920 hours of community service.
The fire eventually consumed more than 48,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge.
Since the fire was contained on Nov. 30, 2017, ODOT, the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department have been working together to reopen sections of the Gorge that have been closed since the Eagle Creek Fire.
The state transportation department has not set a new timeline for the road's reopening. ODOT had planned a phased reopening of the historic highway, with one lane open for car traffic eastbound, and the other lane would be open for people walking and riding bicycles.