FREEWAY REOPENS

December 13, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Spots of ice remained on Interstate 84 this morning but with warming temperatures, the freeway was open in both directions out of La Grande.

The Oregon Department of Transportation opened the interstate at 1:30 p.m. Thursday after a 15-hour closure due to icy roads, high winds and snow.

Whiteout conditions were reported in some areas as the freeway was closed from Pendleton to Ontario, said Tom Strandberg, ODOT public information officer for Eastern Oregon.

There were blizzard conditions and the road was extremely slippery in some places, Strandberg said.

As the storm subsided, ODOT started letting backed-up traffic, a few vehicles at a time, resume their travel at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, he said.

Strandberg said he would urge people, if they have to drive, to make sure they carry chains or have traction tires since they can be required whenever conditions warrant.

We will do what we can to keep the roads open, but ODOTs main focus is safety, Strandberg said.

This morning, both freeway roadways at Meacham had black ice, but there was only a trace of new snow. It was 32 degrees at 7 a.m.

Ladd Canyon had spots of ice and only a trace of new snow this morning, with the temperature at 34 degrees.

Highway 204 at Tollgate received two new inches of snow overnight, making the roadside accumulation 62 inches, ODOT reported. Chains are required for vehicles towing more than 10,000 pounds.

No traffic incidents or severely adverse road conditions were reported this morning.