Rock slide closes I-84 EB through weekend

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by KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 10:25 AM

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- A landslide closed both eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 61, west of Hood River Wednesday night, with a man barely escaping the rubble as it fell.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said Thursday that the lanes would remain closed through the weekend.

Traffic had been getting detoured onto SR 14 until a deadly crash blocked that route. Another route was to take U.S. 26 east to OR 35, and then north to I-84 in Hood River.

About 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris feel from the hillside just before 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Don Hamilton of ODOT.  Crews hoped to have one eastbound lane reopened by Monday, Hamilton said.

Photos: Rockslide blocks I-84

Drivers were warned to expect heavy traffic, delays and backups on this route. Truckers were also alerted that oversized loads are not allowed on SR-14 between Washougal and Hood River.

A boulder the size of two cars fell onto a vehicle at the scene. The driver was unharmed, according to Det. Matt English of the Hood River County Sheriff's Office.

More Man in I-84 rockslide: 'I can't believe I survived'

The slide will keep the eastbound lanes closed until crews can safely clear the road, according to Don Hamilton of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Dan Koopman and his car got swept up in the slide.

"I had the sheer terror," he told KGW. "I thought, 'I'm going to get crushed,' and I bailed out of my car as fast as I could."

He ran and jumped over a protective freeway barrier to safety and waited for emergency crews.

On Jan. 13, on the same stretch of highway, a car-sized boulder rolled out onto Interstate 84. No vehicles were damaged but the rock blocked one lane of traffic and it took crews with the Oregon Department of Transportation about two hours to remove the obstruction, using heavy equipment.

More: Huge rock falls onto I-84 near Hood River

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