TROUTDALE, Ore -- The popular roadway remains closed after a rock slide fell onto the Historic Columbia River Highway just north of the Stark Street Bridge last Thursday.
About 100 dump-truck loads of rocks and dirt, including one rock about ten feet tall, came crashing down onto the highway around 11:30 a.m. and closed a quarter-mile section of the road. No one was injured.
The highway will remain closed until crews can take down two large remaining rocks and clear all the debris, according to Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Don Hamilton.
"A high reach excavator is needed to bring down two large rock outcroppings on the 120-foot rock face above the slide," Hamilton explained on Monday. "Less than half the debris has been removed so far. Once the site is safe, crews will haul the rock away, clear the road and check the road for damage."
The area has been a problem spot before. The cliff already had netting used to hold rocks back. But it was no match for the force that let loose Thursday morning.
Nearby residents were not surprised. The Columbia River Gorge saw major rock slides on both sides of the river last winter.
“I kind of expected it because of the weather we’ve had this year,” said Diane Peterson. “It’s been so wet. Then the ice and everything. So that's [the kind of weather] when it’s going to come down. This one came down a couple of years ago. Each year we get more coming down.”
Peterson, however, saw the bright side.
“I’m so glad nobody was driving by there when that happened," Peterson said.
Pat Dooris contributed to this report