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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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