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Highway 26 reopens in both directions after closing due to April snowstorm

Downed trees near the Oregon Zoo blocked all lanes of the freeway on Monday morning, and other West Hills routes remained blocked on Monday evening.
Credit: ODOT

PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. Highway 26 has reopened in both directions, the Oregon Department of Transportation confirmed shortly after 3 p.m. Monday. 

The highway was closed in both directions Monday morning between Interstate 405 and the State Highway 217 interchange due to downed trees amid an unprecedented April snowstorm.

The Oregon Department of Transportation's TripCheck website showed all lanes closed in both directions as of about 8:30 a.m. Monday, and traffic cameras showed the Vista Ridge tunnels empty as of about 9:45 a.m.

In a news release at about 8:45 a.m., ODOT said there were multiple downed trees blocking the highway, most of them near the Oregon Zoo. Crews were on the scene, the agency said, but there was no estimated time for when the road would reopen.

Credit: ODOT
An ODOT truck getting towed away after getting hit by a downed tree on Highway 26.

Most of the Portland metro area and southwest Washington woke to at least an inch of snow on the ground Monday morning, the first time measurable snow has fallen in the month of April since snow records began being kept in October 1940, according to KGW meteorologist Rod Hill.

RELATED: April snow in Portland leads to school delays and closures, power outages and downed trees

Commuters all over Portland faced a slippery and snarled commute, particularly on the west side, with widespread reports of downed tree limbs, stalled cars and smaller-scale road closures.

A portion of Oregon Highway 127 — Cornelius Pass Road — was also reported closed Monday morning, starting about two miles north of the interchange with Highway 26. Part of West Burnside Road was also reported closed.

RELATED: Snow sticking in downtown Portland, winter weather advisory ends at 10 a.m. | KGW forecast

In a news release late Monday afternoon, the Portland Bureau of Transportation said several West Hills routes would likely remain partially closed for several days due to the high number of fallen trees and power lines that need to be cleaned up, including portions of West Burnside Street, Northwest Skyline Boulevard, Southwest Capitol Highway and Northwest Cornell Road.

Many of the alternate routes from Southwest Portland, Beaverton and Tigard showed heavy traffic, with TripCheck reporting accidents or blockages on several major roads. Interstate 5 appeared to be clear of obstacles but moving slowly through the area.

See KGW's traffic map for the Portland metro area and southwest Washington and follow KGW News on Twitter for the latest updates on road closures.

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