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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Catherine Creek ice jam forces road closure

Catherine Creek ice jam forces road closure

Water pushed a massive pile of ice on to a 150- to 200-yard stretch of Highway 203  just east of Union Monday evening, forcing the closure of a one-mile portion of the two-lane road for about 4-1/2 hours.

The ice was three-to-four feet high, said J.D. Brock, director of Union County Emergency Services.

The ice was cleared by Oregon Department of Transportation crews who used loaders to move the ice off the road. This portion of Highway 203 was reopened at 10:30 p.m. according to Tom Strandberg of ODOT.

The problem was brought on in part by warmer weather this weekend  at higher elevations, Brock said. This caused the water level of Catherine Creek to increase, pushing ice downstream. A dam of ice was created, elevating water pressure which pushed the ice on to Highway 203.

Meanwhile officials were worried Monday evening that another  ice blockage in Catherine Creek might  cause flooding n the vicinity of Birch and 10th streets  in west Union.  A number of Birch Street residents living along Catherine Creek were warned  at about 9 p.m. by emergency services officials that the stream might flood. Fortunately the water  level did not rise after this point.

The danger of flooding along Birch Street  appears to have passed because ice has broken up, Brock said.

See Wednesday's Observer for the complete story. 

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