IDANHA, Ore. - (Update: Highway has reopened, ODOT says)
ODOT crews completed repairs following a fiery, fatal fuel tanker crash and reopened Oregon Highway 22E in the Santiam Canyon near Idanha Thursday evening, officials said.
ODOT said in a traffic alert Thursday evening that the highway had reopened in the Santiam Canyon following the cleanup and road repairs, six days after a fuel tanker crashed and spilled over 11,000 gallons, killing a Redmond man.
ODOT spokesman Lou Torres said the highway was "open to all traffic, without delays.":
Earlier in the day, Torres said, “Crews have been making good progress despite extreme weather conditions and working in a narrow and winding area of the canyon."
The road had been closed since the weekend between milepost 55 at the east end of Idanha to the Santiam Junction of highways 22 and 20.
More than 11,000 gallons of unleaded gas spilled or burned when the tanker truck crashed late Friday night on the icy highway, killing driver Ronald Scurlock of Redmond.
About 300 feet of roadway was damaged, and the fuel spill prompted an extensive hazardous-materials and multi-agency cleanup and water monitoring effort in the adjacent North Santiam River, where no signs of gasoline or byproducts have been found.
With most of the environmental clean-up complete, Torres had said that “crews now must grind away the old pavement, pave it over and install new guardrail before the road can be opened to travelers.”
“Crews have been working in difficult conditions the past several days to get the road open in time for the Christmas holidays,” he added.
During the closure, travelers have been urged to stay on maintained roads and highways while navigating the mountain passes, and not rely on GPS units that are taking some travelers on Forest Service roads near Detroit. Drivers should use established alternative routes and detours.
ODOT recommended using U.S. 20 as an alternate route for small vehicles traveling between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon. It also recommends that large trucks use OR 126 McKenzie Highway through Springfield, OR 58 Willamette Highway or U.S. 26.
Check traffic updates on our ODOT TripCheck page.