An off-duty Sunriver firefighter found a possible explosive device Thursday on the Cottonwood Road on-ramp to northbound Highway 97, prompting closures and detours until an Oregon State Police bomb squad arrived from Salem to destroy it with a high-pressure blast of water.
Sandbags were arrayed and the explosives unit used a high-pressure water blast to render the object harmless, Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills confirmed. The on- and off-ramps reopened shortly after 5 p.m.
The possible device was reported found around 1:10 p.m. in the middle of the on-ramp at the north end of the resort community, Sunriver police said. Mills said it likely fell off or out of a vehicle, though no one can know for sure.
OSP troopers, ODOT and Deschutes County road crews were called to the scene, and a photo of the small, round object was sent to the Salem explosives unit.
ODOT's Peter Murphy said crews closed not only the northbound off-ramp and on-ramp to Highway 97, but the southbound off-ramp at Cottonwood as well. Drivers were directed to the Sunriver interchange at South Century Drive..
Mills said motorists could head south to the South Century Drive exit and then turn left to turn around and head northbound on Highway 97.
It took about three hours for the OSP unit to arrive, examine and dispose of the possible explosive.