TROUTDALE — It was a large job for crews to clear a massive rock slide on the Historic Columbia River Highway near the Stark Street Bridge that closed a quarter-mile of the road for nearly three weeks.
Workers hauled away about 4,400 cubic yards of rocks and debris that slid down the hillside on June 5th. That’s about four times what was first estimated. Some rocks as large as cars and debris came tumbling down blocking the entire road.
The Oregon Department of Transportation brought in outside resources to help clear the pile-up, but before they could get to work breaking up the large rocks and haul it away, they had to be assured that it was safe for crews as rocks above were still in danger of falling.
“When it comes to rock slides, gravity wins. We’ve got a lot of water around here, hillsides, and we get slides from time to time. We’re not certain of the cause yet, but this may be related to the freeze and thaw cycles,” said ODOT’s Don Hamilton.
The area has been a problem spot before. The state installed a mesh drape over a decade ago because of previous slides. A new concrete barrier and 8′ tall fence have been put there to catch falling rocks.