EUGENE, Ore. – Roads are gradually starting to reopen after Tuesday's storm, but make sure to check before you go.
Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation said travel was not advised Tuesday night along Interstate 5 south of Roseburg or other southwest Oregon highways. Several closed due to blizzard conditions and downed trees.
ODOT crews will be ready around the clock to keep roads as safe and clear as possible. In Douglas County, officials said that road and plow crews are on standby for inclement weather.
"As in any of these storms, especially a storm of this magnitude, you can have power outages. And depending on what occurs, you could have trees down in roadways being unsafe to travel as well," said Douglas County emergency manager Wayne Stenson.
Greg Coakley, manager for T&M Towing and Crockett's Interstate Towing, said they will be fully staffed throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. They have a fleet of more than a dozen tow trucks. He said they responded to calls on the Willamette Pass on Highway 58 on Tuesday.
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"We'll go home to our families, we'll have dinner, but if we got to go, we got go," Coakley said. "Unfortunately, towing never stops. We're all 24/7. My guys have shifts, but if need be, they come and give a hand."
Coakley said with all the recent rain, they have responded to a number of crashes and broken down vehicles. He is urging drivers to slow down and get their tires checked. He is also urging drivers to move over and slow down if they see tow trucks working on the side of the road.
If you are driving, make sure to plan ahead, expect delays and allow extra travel time. Check conditions before leaving at TripCheck and watch our latest forecast and track the latest weather conditions on our StormTracker 9 weather page or our app on your Android or iOS device.
Make sure to carry chains in your car and know how to use them. Pack supplies in case of major delays, including food, water, blankets, warm clothes and medications.
Oregon 138E, 62 and 230 are once again open following blizzard coniditons. Chains are required on all vehicles except 4x4s unless they are towing.
Oregon highways 38, 42, 42S and U.S. 101 are also experiencing either downed trees or power lines, but all remain open to at least a single lane as of Tuesday afternoon.
Drivers should expect low visibility winter conditions west of Oakridge at the Willamette Pass on OR 58. Chains are required between mileposts 49 and 68 for vehicles except 4x4s unless you are towing. Be prepared for delays.
Chains are no longer required northbound and southbound on the I-5 Siskiyou Summit south of Ashland, though drivers must carry chains. Drivers should be prepared to put them on in California.
Conditions should clear on Thanksgiving Day, but prepare for another storm over the weekend.
If you are traveling along I-5 on Saturday, expect congestion due to the Civil War football game between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.
A majority of the 55 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more this holiday, about 49 million, will be hitting the road this holiday, according to AAA.
It will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since records started being tracked in 2000, trailing only the record from 2005. Overall, 1.6 million more people will travel this year compared with last year, a 2.9% increase. Wednesday afternoon will be the worst travel time nationally.
“Millions of thankful Americans are starting the holiday season off right with a Thanksgiving getaway,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers. Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”
At the pump, drivers across the nation will expect to pay an average of $2.59, just a couple of cents higher than during last year’s Thanksgiving weekend average, according to AAA. On the west coast, AAA said prices are continuing to decline, and in Oregon, drivers can expect to pay $3.21.