Rising River Eats Away At Highway 20 Near Eddyville

Feb 12, 2014

A rising Yaquina River has eaten away the foundation of U.S. 20 through the Coast Range in a narrow, twisty section that for years has made trouble for drivers and highway workers alike.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says travel at a curve about four miles west of Eddyville in Lincoln County will be down to a single lane while crews bring in rock to rebuild the foundation. ODOT Spokesman Rick Little says the area was hit hard by the recent snowstorm.

Erosion on Highway 20 embankment
Credit ODOT

Little:  "So we have all that snowmelt from the valley going into this river. As well as the coast range got more than a couple of inches of rain in the past 24 hours. So the combination of snowmelt and heavy rains has really lifted the water level of that river and increased its force and it's that force that has eroded the roadbank."

ODOT had to rebuild part of the road about two miles to the west in a similar incident two years ago.

The highway links Corvallis-Albany to Newport.  A 10-mile realignment project that ran into massive overruns and delays is scheduled to open in 2015.