After a series of severe and fatal crashes along the Kiwanis Camp Road area of U.S. 26, Oregon is blasting roadways to make improvements.
Oregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) began blasting about 4,000 cubic yards of rock off a U.S. 26 hillside Monday morning. This is the beginning of some major repairs being done to the section of highway that runs east of Kiwanis Camp Road and Mirror Lake Curves that has had many severe and fatal crashes along it.
“The rock slopes are too close to the highway,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie the spokeswoman for The ODOT. “People hit rocks that fall onto the road. We are working on a three-mile stretch of the old road to cut back slopes and built a center barricade between the east and westbound lanes to reduce fatal crashes.”
Demolition crews closed the road as they drilled various holes 40 feet deep across this 125 foot hillside that they filled with explosives made from ammonium nitrate. They check all nearby hiking trails and other areas before sounding off an alarm and blasting away.
“The scary part is that one person from the crew has to go make sure every charge went off. Then the rocks are cleared from the road within 30 minutes, and the road is reopened,” explained Dinwiddie.
All the rock that is hauled away from the blasts will be taken to a rock quarry where they will be crushed down to be used with another paving project and as a retaining wall.
The project started in the summer of 2014 and is expected to be completed sometime next summer.