Rock removal could take two weeks, ODOT says

Blasting resumes on eastbound

December 10, 2005

With a missile-sized jack-hammer at the end of crane, a contractor on Thursday began fragmenting the biggest boulder that fell Sunday night onto Interstate 84 near Exit 37.

The pieces of that house-sized boulder were so big, the contractor had to break those chunks into even smaller rocks.

It’s a process Oregon Department of Transportation crews hope will last no more than two weeks, said ODOT spokesman David Thompson.

To achieve this goal, the contractor will be working seven days a week until he finishes the job.

ODOT hopes to have the southern lane clear by Dec. 22.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 cubic yards of rock fell onto the road.

“Or as many as 500 dump truck loads, if dump truck could hold those huge rocks,” Thompson said.

Meanwhile, a construction project to remove loose rock from the cliff along the south side of the freeway continues on the interstate just west of Hood River.

The right lane of eastbound I-84 at milepost 61 is now closed 24 hours a day for the duration of the project.

Friday, Dec 9, Tuesday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 15 there will be a rolling slowdown each day on I-84 in both directions as the contractor performs more rounds of blasting on the cliff.

During the blasting operations, motorists should expect slow and/or temporarily stopped traffic on I-84 and delays up to 20 minutes,” Thompson said.

The rolling slowdowns will occur between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and will be dependent upon local weather and road conditions.

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