I just read your answer about the bumpy Highway 66 through Ashland and wonder about it beyond Ashland. For more than 40 years, I have traveled frequently up to the Greensprings and notice that around mile marker 12 or 13, the road caves in and is repaired annually. Now there is a traffic signal installed to control passage through the one remaining lane. Looks serious. I wonder each time I pass over that section of road: "What is it underneath that causes it collapse shortly after it is repaired?"
— Eileen S., Talent
Your observations are on point, Eileen. That section of the highway — between Buckhorn Springs Road and Soda Mountain Road near milepost 12 — has been a frequent headache for the Oregon Department of Transportation (and drivers such as you).
Conditions are currently worse than normal because of the intense wet winter we just had. We know it probably already seems like a distant memory because of how h-h-hot it's been.
"This year has been very bad just as far as the wear and tear, mainly from the water that's causing the road to slide," said ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming.
The issues are also caused by a culvert beneath the roadway that isn't draining properly, Leaming said. The agency installed it and raised the road bed in 2006, a project that necessitated a temporary closure of the highway.
Over the last several months, ODOT has spent tens of thousands of dollars patching the slide damage. A permanent fix is coming soon, according to the group's periodical publication "Moving Ahead." That project was originally slated for summer 2018, but it just got pushed up to this year, Leaming said. It will, again, close the highway temporarily, detouring motorists.
"The agency will purchase property downhill from the slide," a "Moving Ahead" article said. "The property will be used to build a large rock buttress and a new drainage system to keep the highway in place."
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