PBOT: Into recovery, but 54 roads still closed from storm

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — While select parts of the Portland metro area are slowly starting to melt, the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced that snow and ice have continued to impact several metro area roads, causing closures into Sunday.

Even though PBOT reports Sunday’s rain is helping to melt side streets, they shared there are currently 54 roads closed in Portland, mostly due to downed trees in the West Hills. Downed power lines, icy conditions, even stranded vehicles and crashes are contributing factors to other closures.

Emergency crews are out working round the clock to assess this damage sustained during the storm. PBOT says they are working in coordination with the Portland Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry Division as well as Portland General Electric to prioritize opening the roads as soon as possible.

A street closed sign in Portland, January 21, 2024 (KOIN)
A street closed sign in Portland, January 21, 2024 (KOIN)

But the public can help in a few different ways, according to PBOT’s Hannah Schafer. Starting with obeying road signs.

“They are there because it is hazardous to drive through the area,” she said. “You might not be able to see the hazard from the closure itself because it’s down the road or around the corner, but it’s there and those signs are for people’s safety.”

Additionally, PBOT is asking the public’s help to clear a path to storm drains to help with the melting snow and ice. If the drain still isn’t draining, people are encouraged to call 503-823-1700 and PBOT dispatchers will have crews respond.

Another effect of the snow and ice melting is potholes, which are formed when water freezes and expands under the pavement. Schafer noted that once PBOT moves out of the recovery phase, crews will start to fill them. However, the public can help by identifying and reporting potholes to PBOT right when they see them.

“Overall, the city is significantly more navigable today,” said Schafer. “We’re thankful to everyone who stayed home during the worst of this storm so that we could plow, salt, and deice the roads and keep them clear for first responders and public transit.”

You can get up-to-date winter weather road closures and chain advisories on the PBOT website.

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