By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Central Oregon’s first big snowstorm of 2020 is taking its toll on area highways with massive snowfalls downing trees and closing Oregon Highway 230 toward Medford.
“They got about two feet of snow, and that’s just playing havoc with the trees there,” said ODOT Spokesman Peter Murphy. “It’s bending them down, it’s breaking them, it’s forcing them onto the highway.”
ODOT says about 100 trees have already fallen across the highway. Another 200 are dangerously close – leaning inward toward the road.
“Folks who might be planning on using that road probably should plan on doing something else,” Murphy said.
With two more feet of snow expected in the area, Murphy says more trees are bound to come down.
It could be days before the highway reopens.
While choosing an alternative route is an option, ODOT says it’s important to remember that all the passes are going to be suffering in some way, shape, or form.
“Once we have a problem with trees coming down, it’s hard to get our own crews into the area to have them do the work,” Murphy said. “And we have to keep in mind their safety as well. We just urge people to be aware of those conditions, and to find out what they can in advance of heading over to avoid any kind of problem.”
Highway 97 is in better shape than 230, but drivers should still be cautious.
“So Highway 97, while it may be clearer, and open and available for travel, it’s more difficult than it used to be because of the snow and the ice that are down,” he said. “So you have to plan more time. There’s ice and snow everywhere right now.”