OR drivers, ODOT ready for winter weather conditions

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ODOT is keeping tabs on I-84 and I-5 driving conditions

TROUTDALE, Ore. (KOIN) — Winter weather preparations are underway to make sure drivers don’t get stuck in a dangerous situation. The Oregon Department of Transportation has crews on standby to attack any areas that see snow and ice Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

Conditions on Interstate-84 were windy Saturday, but dry. However, driving conditions could change at any time in the Gorge, so ODOT crews have to stay ready.

“The Gorge is sort of its own weather system, so anything could happen out there,” said ODOT spokesperson Don Hamilton. “We are ready for anything that goes on. We have our first storage shed in Cascade Locks. We will be able to move salt in through the Gorge very quickly in the next couple of days or at any point this winter.”

The Cascade Locks storage shed opened in the fall, and Hamilton said they just finished stocking it in the past couple of weeks. The shed can provide salt as well as supplies for both the Gorge and Portland.

“Salt is a really important tool for us, particularly in a few spots,” said Hamilton. “Certainly Sylvan, Highway 26 going up out of the tunnel is one of them, and on Breeze Hill, which is that pace on I-5 coming north from [Highway] 217.”

KOIN 6 News spoke to several travelers about what they expect to see Saturday night and how they prepared for the winter weather.

“We live in the Gorge in Carson, so we are supposed to get hit pretty hard tonight, we think,” said Diana Ramos. “Definitely, ice makes me the most nervous—black ice.”

“The other vehicle has the snow tires on it,” said Gresham resident Brad Howard. “We’ve got our parkas, we are all set.”

The weather also made for a brutal day on the job for those working outside. A Toutdale gas station attendant was doing his best to stay warm Saturday evening.

“I feel like I’m being bullied by the wind,” said Matthew Hoover. “I’ve got layers and layers and layers.”

As of Saturday evening conditions were cold but clear out on I-84 in the Gorge.

Sunday could be a challenging day, both in terms of weather and with the number of people expected to be on the road, traveling home from the holiday. Hamilton said they will be watching all conditions very carefully.

KOIN 6 News will continue to update this story.

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