The Astoria Bridge reopens; public works crews work hard to clean up messThe Astoria Bridge reopened this morning after being shut down all night by the ice and snow that made driving conditions treacherous around the county.
The Oregon Department of Transportation ordered the bridge closed at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday after a tractor-trailer rig jackknifed about a mile south of the Washington side thanks to the slick road surface and strong east winds. It reopened at 8:30 a.m. today.
LORI ASSA - The Daily Astorian
A car slides on the ice covering Franklin Avenue in Astoria Tuesday morning.This morning, the agency waited for a large piece of ice hanging from one of the cross-pieces above the road surface to fall before allowing traffic back onto the span.
While the wind and ice made the bridge hazardous for semi trucks, vehicles appeared to be negotiating the span safely Tuesday, and after the truck mishap ODOT considered reopening the bridge to cars only. But the worsening conditions led it to maintain the closure through the night.
This morning it was the large chunks of ice built up on the bridge superstructure that posed the biggest hazard to motorists, said District Manager Mike Spaeth. Crews waited for one last large piece to fall before reopening the bridge.
Despite the poor conditions, there were relatively few crashes and mishaps reported on area highways, Spaeth said Wednesday.
"It's been a quiet morning - folks in this area have done a fantastic job taking their time getting where they're going," he said.
Who to call for helpOregon travel information:
In Oregon: (800) 977-ODOT (6368) or 511
Outside of Oregon: (503) 588-2941
ODOT Web site:
Washington travel information:
(800) 695-ROAD (7623)
WSDOT Web site:
To report power outages:
(877) 548-3768 or 1-877-LITES-OUT
To report natural gas problems:
Gas odor emergency: (800) 882-3377 or 911
Other problems: (800) 422-4012
Non-emergency police dispatch
Astoria dispatch: (503) 325-4411
Seaside dispatch: (503) 738-6311
Pacific County (360) 642-9397Warming temperatures were slowly turning the icy roads and highways to slush in Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart and points south. But conditions remained hazardous in the Jewell area and around Knappa, where the Clatsop County Public Works Department was concentrating its crews and vehicles, according to County Engineer Ron Ash. "We've already dispatched our Astoria crews to help out in those areas," he said.
In the midst of this winter storm, an Astoria resident was spotted lending a helping shovel Tuesday. Vince Chritton, 34, cleared sidewalks all over town this morning. "He's a great guy and he's doing a good service," said Teri See, case manager with the Women's Resource Center. See spotted Chritton from her second-story office as he was flinging snow to clear the way for pedestrians.
Road crews in the Jewell area have been working for 10 days battling snow and ice, Ash said.
In Knappa, Clatsop County Sheriff's deputies assisted motorists caught Tuesday in extremely icy conditions on U.S. Highway 30 on the hill west of Mary's Creek.
In Astoria, public works crews were turning their attention this morning to clearing out secondary streets they weren't able to get to Tuesday, according to city Public Works Superintendent Ken Cook. "It's melting very, very slowly," he said.
The department has three snow-plow/sanders to clear the city's streets, and has to tackle the major arterials that serve the most residents first, then move on to the side streets, Cook said. The plow drivers have been working long hours since Friday to tackle the snow and ice on the often tricky streets, he said.
LORI ASSA - The Daily Astorian
Gabe Davis, 14, sleds down a slick Eighth Street, which was closed to cars Tuesday morning. Jacob Davis, 11, pauses on his way back up the hill."This is a larger than normal event, and it's a challenge to keep up with it," he said. "We appreciate people's patience."
Highways closeIn Tillamook County a stretch of U.S. Highway 101 between Wheeler and Garibaldi was closed by a landslide early this morning, but crews had the roadway cleared and the highway reopened by 8 a.m.
On U.S. Highway 26, crews were clearing away trees that fell on stretches of the roadway between the Highway 53 junction and Jewell junction.
Few crashes were reported on county roads. Chief Deputy Tom Bergin with the Clatsop County Sheriff's Office said motorists appeared to have shown respect for the conditions.
"Everything went pretty smoothly," he said. "People did a good job of staying home or driving safely."
WarrentonLocal public works crews kept busy all down sanding roads covered in snow, which eventually turned to ice, also had to contend with falling trees and tree limbs later in the day Tuesday. Several trees were reported downed across roads in Warrenton, Astoria and outlying areas.
And in Warrenton two water mains burst, one near the Shilo Hotel at 1609 Harbor Drive and the other in the 1000 block of Fourth Street.
City Manager Jim Hough said Tuesday afternoon that city hall had been closed and garbage service discontinued because of the extreme weather. He said the garbage truck's apparatus that is used to dump garbage cans into the truck was freezing.
"We apologize to the customers who won't get their pick up done today," he said Tuesday.
Hough said the fire department had responded to a few emergency calls, but nothing related to the storm and that the police officers were still on patrol.
"Of course we are going at a slower pace," he said.
None of the residential streets in Warrenton received any sanding but none had been closed either. The main streets through Warrenton, most of which are state operated highways had not received any sanding as well.
Oregon Department of Transportation's District Manager Mike Spaeth said Warrenton's streets were a lower priority than keeping the county's main highway corridors open for travel.
Long Beach (Wash.) PeninsulaRain cleared most of the ice from the roads around the town of Long Beach, Wash., by the early hours and a city street sweeping vehicle at 5 a.m. did the rest. Just north of the town of Chinook, several 30-foot long, cigar-shaped stretches of black ice reduced early traffic to a crawl. Five cars parked in Chinook at the side of the highway through town were trapped by solid snow piles, one as high as the roof, created when plows cleared the way through.