Eastbound I-84 closed by major rock slide in Columbia Gorge

Eastbound I-84 closed by major rock slide in Columbia Gorge
Photo courtesy: Travis Rockwell.

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- A rock slide has blocked both eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 west of Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge.
   
The slide happened around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night near mile post 61 just west of Hood River.

The Oregon Department of Transportation eventually shut down the eastbound lanes of I-84 at Troutdale because of the rock slide.

Westbound traffic is able to get through the area.

ODOT said eastbound I-84 will remain closed Thursday. Spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie told KATU there was no timetable to reopen the eastbound lanes. She said crews need daylight to clear the freeway and evaluate the slope to make sure it is safe.

"That is a lot of rock and it is not going to clean up quickly," said Dinwiddie. "We want to make sure the highway is safe before we open it."

About 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris fell onto the road, according to ODOT.

According to ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton, the hill on the south side of I-84 gave way and enough earth slid onto the freeway to push the jersey barriers into the westbound lanes.

One man who was driving his car was almost hit by the large boulders and debris that came down just before 7:30 p.m.

Lt. Gregg Hastings, spokesman for Oregon State Police, said the man wasn't injured.

Alternate routes

ODOT says one alternate route around the closure is U.S. 26 east to OR 35, and then north to I-84 in Hood River.

"These highways are icy in spots, so please exercise caution: slow down and leave more room between cars. Please expect delays and slow-moving trucks," ODOT said in a news release.

Another alternate route is I-205 north into Washington; then SR-14 east to Hood River and back across the Hood River Bridge to continue on I-84 east. Over-sized loads are not allowed on SR-14, ODOT said.

Drivers should expect delays.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.