Construction to complete Columbia River State Historic Trail will result in closures on I-84 this month

The historic Columbia River Highway State Trail will be a bit closer to completion later this month, but work on one of the route’s most striking features will cause delays for travelers on the Interstate. 84.

Starting Thursday, October 7, drivers traveling between Cascade Locks and Memaloose State Park east of Mosier should expect long delays.

Contractors will begin forming the Mitchell Point Tunnel with drilling and blasting in this area, meaning flaggers will create rolling slowdowns to help block both directions of the freeway for 20 minute windows between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In addition to this, you can expect lane or shoulder closures on I-84 East Monday through Friday, and exit ramps 58 will be inaccessible. Construction could take up to four weeks.

The original 390-foot Mitchell Point Tunnel was an iconic part of the historic Columbia River Highway, with five arched windows that overlooked the waterway. Built in 1915, the underpass was closed in 1953 as it could no longer accommodate the increased volume of traffic and larger vehicles. Unfortunately, crews destroyed the original shaft in 1966 to widen what is now I-84.

The new tunnel will echo the aesthetics of its predecessor, including five arched windows, but its length will drop to 655 feet. When complete, the west path will eventually connect to the Hood River segment.

Sixty-eight of the original 73 miles of the highway are now open to traffic, either by car or by foot and bicycle. Restoration work is still needed to reopen the Oneonta tunnel at Cascade Locks, which was damaged in the Eagle Creek fire in 2017.

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