A message to the community of Newport and residents of Lincoln County
NEWPORT— On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 18, after experiencing hurricane force winds and near record rainfall, the sub-grade of US 101 at milepost 144.5 eroded, leaving the pavement partially unsupported in the southbound lane. The erosion extended under the roadway approximately five feet and for a length of approximately sixty feet. That meant part of the southbound lane and the entire northbound lane remained safe to travel on.
ODOT took immediate steps to protect the safety of the public by closing the southbound lane and directing all traffic onto the northbound lane, under the control of flaggers.
ODOT brought in environmental and geotechnical experts who, along with experienced maintenance personnel, began formulating a plan for rebuilding the highway sub-grade as quickly as possible.
An emergency was declared for the construction project, allowing an expedited procurement process to hire a contractor and begin construction.
ODOT also began constant monitoring of the erosion to track any escalation that might compromise the northbound lane, thereby forcing a complete highway closure.
While the erosion has continued, it has not progressed at a rate or volume sufficient to warrant a complete highway closure.
Time is of the essence, however, as additional winter storms are forecast to bring continued wind and rain to the area.
It is important to understand that once a contractor begins rebuilding the eroded lane, the construction materials will protect the uncompromised lane and there should be no need for a complete highway closure.
ODOT is working quickly to get the work underway. We anticipate having a contractor selected by the end of business today. Our goal is to have the contractor mobilize and begin construction as early as Saturday.
Once construction is underway:
The project will take 4-6 days for completion.
The project will construct a sub-grade of rock to replace the sand that has eroded.
Construction will occur during daylight hours only.
During construction, a single lane of travel will be kept open most of the time and during prime commute times.
There will be intermittent 20 minute complete closures.
Emergency vehicles will be allowed passage at any time.
Final paving demands fair weather. That may necessitate temporary travel over aggregate until paving can be completed
ODOT is confident that the project will be successful. However, it is always important to have a contingency plan.
Should a complete closure of US 101 be necessary, emergency vehicles would access Newport via a predetermined route. All other vehicles would be directed to an alternate route south on US 101, east on OR 34, west on US 20 to Newport. Such a route is 130 miles one-way.
The consequences of this week’s storm are a strong reminder that while the Oregon Coast offers us a very special lifestyle, it also presents some very tough challenges. ODOT is working hard to meet those challenges and values the partnership we enjoy with the City of Newport and Lincoln County.