No one injured, but the rock blocks eastbound lane on Interstate 84

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: OREGON STATE POLICE - Large boulder falls from embankment into easbound lane west of Hood River on Interstate 84.A rock the size of an old Volkswagen Beetle fell onto Interstate 84 Sunday, Jan. 12, about a mile west of Hood River, said Lt. Gregg Hastings, spokesman at the Oregon State Police.

It’s the second known rock to have fallen in the Columbia River Gorge in the past week. On Thursday, Jan. 9, U.S. Forest Service officials closed Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls after a boulder smashed through its deck and damaged the handrail.

The arch-style bridge is still closed, pending an inspection and repairs. Larch Mountain Trial No. 441 also is closed from the Multnomah Falls viewing plaza near Multnomah Falls Lodge to the Gorge No. 400 trail.

No cars were involved in the incident on Interstate 84, but the boulder did block one lane of traffic.

It took Oregon Department of Transportation crews about two hours to remove the rock using heavy equipment, he said.

At approximately 12:34 p.m., a state trooper responded to a report of a road hazard eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 61. Upon arrival, the trooper saw the large boulder, which he believed rolled off the nearby embankment, over a concrete barrier and onto the highway.

During wet weather and high winds, road officials remind drivers to be on alert for falling rocks, slides and other roadway obstructions.

This boulder was unusually large, Hastings said. But even smaller rocks may fall unexpectedly and be dangerous to drivers traveling in the Columbia River Gorge.

If you see a hazard blocking the road, contact Oregon State Police dispatch or call 9-1-1.

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