The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is monitoring new landslide activity along U.S. Highway 101 at Hooskanaden Creek between Brookings and Gold Beach
ODOT public information officer Dan Latham confirmed reports that the Hooskanaden slide has moved about an inch in the last month, although he added that’s fairly typical for this and similar coastal areas.
“The only thing that’s different this year is, we’re getting rain a little earlier in the season,” said Latham. “We usually don’t see this amount of rain or ground movement until later in the fall.”
He said several locations along the southern Oregon coast typically see ground movement during the fall and winter. “When cracks occur in the road (as a result), we try to patch them as quickly as possible.”
The Hookanaden area of U.S. 101 began sliding the week of Feb. 25, closing both lanes of the highway and diverting traffic to Carpenterville Road - the only alternative for motorists. A single lane was built by Tidewater Construction in March and two lanes were opened in May, which sit atop a temporary roadway.
ODOT spent about $1 million for the temporary repair, which closely bypasses the original slide area.
“It’s important to keep in mind that these large slides usually occur every 15 to 20 years,” Latham said. “We haven’t seen major slides in back-to-back years. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but it’s unlikely.”
Latham said ODOT is continuing to monitor the ground movement. “We have staff working on the south coast who drive through this area daily and they’re keeping an eye on the movement. We also send our geologists to these areas at least monthly through the fall and winter to measure the movement.”
Latham said ODOT hasn’t done anything new to stabilize the hillside during the last month, but the agency did drive long steel dowels into the ground over the summer to stabilize the road.
In addition, ODOT is planning to install reflective chevron signs by early November to guide motorists in navigating the curve at the south end of the slide area.
A plan to restore the highway to three lanes, plus shoulders - as it was before the slide - is under way, but likely won’t occur until next year.