Plan ahead for July 4th weekend travel – Local area roads already busy, drive with care

Drive sober and slow down

SALEM — Travelers celebrating Independence Day weekend can expect heavy congestion, hot and dry conditions throughout Oregon and the Northwest.

Everyone should plan ahead, add travel time, and pack patience for delays. Plan routes carefully, considering the many wildfire recovery areas around the state and continued wildfire risk.

One unwanted tradition of the July 4 weekend is tragedy. In Oregon, more alcohol-related holiday crashes occur than on any other holiday weekends. Remember to always drive sober, stay alert, and drive for conditions.

Lots of traffic expected

Traffic volumes are nearly back to typical levels on all state roads. Know road conditions before heading out by checking or calling 5-1-1. An Oregon Department of Transportation summer construction map shows major planned projects throughout the state. To reduce risk to drivers and crews while helping traffic flow, most ODOT construction crews will pause roadwork projects between Friday, July 2 and Tuesday morning, July 6.

On Interstate 5, south of Ashland over the Siskiyous, drivers should expect single lane traffic in both directions throughout the summer. This includes all weekends and holidays until paving and bridge work is completed.

Destination reminders:

  • Parking lots can fill quickly at popular recreation areas. Plan ahead, arrive early and have back up places to visit.
  • Park only in designated areas.
  • Local law enforcement may ticket or tow cars parked along a roadside or another undesignated area.
  • Most recreation destinations may be open, but some roads to get there could be closed.

2020 Wildfire Recovery Areas

Debris cleanup from last September’s devastating wildfires complicates the holiday and summer road picture. Work continues in key corridors connecting the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys to Central Oregon and the coast.

Travelers should use extra caution while traveling in wildfire recovery areas, and take alternate routes if possible. Speed limits are reduced, areas look different and landmarks may be gone. While state highway projects are on pause this weekend, there may be work zones and delays for private crews working on wildfire recovery.

Wildfire impacted routes include: OR 138 in Douglas CountyOR 22 in the Santiam CanyonOR 18 east of Lincoln City, and OR 126 along the McKenzie River.

OR 224 above Estacada in Clackamas County remains unsafe due to extreme wildfire damage and will be closed through the fall.

Wildfire Prevention

2021 comes with extra concern about wildfires. Much of the state is coming off of a major heat wave and is experiencing drought. Know and follow fire restrictions before traveling.

Motorists can help prevent wildfires:

  • Stay on paved surfaces whenever possible. Avoid roadsides where flammables such as dry grass can come in contact with a vehicle’s hot exhaust system or catalytic converter.
  • Prevent throwing off sparks by ensuring that all parts of your vehicle, from mufflers to chains, are secure and tires have correct pressure.
  • Never toss a lit cigarette or flammable materials from a vehicle.
  • Extinguish all smoking materials completely and thoroughly, away from dry grass and fuels.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher in the car and know how to use it.
  • Know local wildfire danger and restrictions.