I-84 road closures leave truckers stranded

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 20:51:19-05

Both eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic on Interstate-84 between Pendleton and Ontario in Eastern Oregon are now open.

However, icy roadways are still a problem in the Columbia Gorge area where the freeway remains closed between Troutdale and Hood River. This section is expected to be closed through the end of Thursday.

With the recent road closures across the Idaho-Oregon border, a ton of truck drivers have been stranded.

The sound of diesel truck engines idling was abound at the Boise Stage Stop on Thursday. Other than an influx on the holidays, this time of year is typically slower at the truck stop. That has not been the case most recently, though.

"Somebody leaves and the next person comes right in," says Samantha McDonald, marketing manager for the Boise Stage Stop. "It's just packed."

John Britzke is carrying a load of FedEx packages. He hit the road from Kansas City and is on his way to Seattle.

"We let everyone know that we've been delayed. I mean, the highways are closed, so, there's nothing anyone can do," Britzke says. "You do the best you can."

Britzke doesn't mind the snow but when he runs into a series of delays it makes for a longer week.

Luckily, the stage stop has plenty of showers.

"There is more than enough for everybody [showers]. We've got the theater room up there as well," McDonald says. "That room is kind of packed at the moment too. They're up there watching tv, watching the news and just kind of relaxing and taking some time."

While the demand is up in the dining hall, managers say they're always closely monitoring their pantry so that they're sure to never run out of anything.

As for Britzke, he was just happy enough to find a place to park.

"There just doesn't seem to be enough truck stops. Either that or there's too many trucks," he concludes.

If you're trying to head west of Pendleton, you're being urged to use alternate routes because there aren't many places left to park and motels could be full.

Other closed highway sections in Union and Baker counties include the Cove Hwy (OR237) between Island City and Cove (MP 0-13) and Pyles Canyon Hwy (OR237) between Union and North Powder (MP17-32).

For further updates check or call 511 / 800-977-6368 and outside of Oregon: 503-588-2941.