|9/12/2017 11:33:00 AM|
Highway 242 to remain closed due to fire
The McKenzie Highway is a scenic byway and a favorite ride for bicyclists and motorcycle riders from across the region. This summer, it's also served as an anchor point for containment lines around the northern and western edges of the 24,079-acre Milli Fire.
The encroachment of fire has left burned snags along the roadway on Highway 242, and tree branches and other debris are scattered along the route. According to Oregon Department of Transportation spokesmen, the route will remain closed until damage and hazards are assessed and whatever action required is taken.
Snags in particular pose a hazard both to work crews and the traveling public, and they will have to be removed. Burned trees can fall across the roadway, sometimes long after fire has moved through. Wind and the weight of snow or shifting soils due to rain can bring them down. ODOT will work with the Forest Service to identify hazard trees, and crews will cut them down.
How long the closure will be in place and whether the road will be reopened at all before the snow flies remains to be seen.
"We anticipate that it will be closed for a while yet," said ODOT public affairs official Tom Strandberg. "Safety is our primary concern."
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