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Crews spotted on I-5 were bringing down rocks for safety reasons

On a recent drive over the Siskiyou summit on I-5, we saw what appears to be a giant rock fall along the northbound shoulder, and three guys who appeared to be contractors were hanging off the cliff from ropes above the rock fall. Were they knocking down loose rocks to make it safer?

— Dave S., Medford

You nailed it, Dave.

The Oregon Department of Transportation had hired a crew to scale the cliff you saw and knock down looser material and rocks for a cleanup, according to agency spokesman Gary Leaming.

This kind of cleanup is to mitigate more severe rock falls, such as the incident back in January on Highway 62 where a massive boulder fell into the road and caused a crash, injuring a man.

“We do this every few years to make sure we’re determining when and how the rocks come down versus gravity and Mother Nature,” Leaming told us via email.

This started Sunday, when the agency was able to close down a lane and the shoulder so the material could come down safely.

“If there is major concern, we’ll institute a ‘rolling slow down’ to allow traffic to clear before we displace large rocks off the ledge,” Leaming said.

Crews were up on Highway 66 doing similar work earlier this week.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.