Interstate 84 will see rolling slowdowns and delays between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Thursday Oct. 5 for rock blasting necessary to build the latest segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.
The delays, which could last up to an hour, will be the first in a series of as many as seven closures needed in the coming weeks for controlled blasting near milepost 53.
In each event, crews will use a carefully calculated amount of explosives that will have no impact on removal of Eagle Creek Fire debris at Shellrock Mountain, a mile west of the trail work.
The blasting is necessary for construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail segment connecting Wyeth and Lindsey Creek. At Lindsey Creek, a bench cut requires blasting to create room for the trail in the existing rock slope.
This work is located in the same area where eastbound traffic is temporarily diverted into one lane of westbound I-84 due to fire debris removal activity from the Eagle Creek Fire.
Due to the danger of explosives, the rolling slowdowns will create a window where no cars are in the work zone during blasting operations. After the blasts, crews will remove rock debris from I-84 before safely reopening the highway.
There may be as many as seven rock blasts, taking place about once a week through mid-November. Exact dates will be announced in advance of each blast.
Thursday’s work will be a test blast, which are smaller and used to test the behavior of the rock before larger blasts take place.
Engineers from both ODOT and Western Federal Lands, the construction project manager, are carefully studying the area in order to make any needed modifications to the trail design to safely construct the trail while taking into consideration fire-related hazards.