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Landslide Closes HWY 101 South of Port Orford

8:21 PM · Jan 10, 2023

All lanes of Hwy 101 are closed 12 miles south of Port Orford at milepost 312 due to a landslide beneath the road. This will be a long closure according to Oregon Department of Transportation. For any travel along the coast, be aware of the closure and plan accordingly. For more info, go to tripcheck.com. The landslide caused a roughly 200-yard segment of highway to drop as much as 12 feet in some spots. U.S. 101 remains closed this afternoon near the landslide while geotechnical engineers from ODOT evaluate the scene and watch for additional movement according to an ODOT press release. There is not an estimate yet for when the highway may reopen. There is no local detour on this stretch of U.S. 101. This closure applies to emergency services as well. Around 3 a.m. Monday, a larger section of U.S. 101 sank about five feet, and ODOT closed the highway. U.S. 101 continued to drop through mid-morning, although movement has slowed as of noon. "What happens next is dependent on our surveys and also the weather," ODOT Public Affairs Specialist Matt Noble said. "Our engineers tell us the slide has slowed down significantly over the last 24 hours, which is good news. If it stays like this, we’ll be able to start building a temporary lane through the collapsed area with rock and gravel. Our contractor is already staging materials and equipment at the site in preparation. The wild card is the upcoming rain in the forecast the next few days. More rain may destabilize the slope more, which could make it slide more, and that would hinder or halt the temporary lane work." Crews first noticed landslide activity on Jan. 2, when large cracks formed in the pavement. The cracks were patched, but by Friday, a sunken hole had formed in the northbound lanes, prompting a lane closure and 24-hour flagging for traveler safety. Active landslides are common on the south coast. ODOT monitors multiple active landslides between Port Orford and Ophir. This active landslide, known as the “Arizona Slide,” has had events like this since the 1980s. The last big Arizona Slide event occurred in 1993 and closed U.S. 101 for over a week. "We did not have an indication that this landslide would happen before it did," Noble said. "The Arizona Slide is a well-known active landslide area that we monitor, but sudden landslides like the one south of Port Orford are difficult to predict. Our work is focused on reducing how often landslides happen, and having plans in place for when they do.

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