Jackson County, Ore. — Although late in the season, the Oregon Department of Transportation still urges drivers to take precautions as potential risks still remain.
"The key is it's still winter, and drivers still need to be prepared for winter travel and just know whenever you're driving in or out of the rogue valley you are driving over a mountain pass," said ODOT spokesperson Gary Leaming.
Winter weather lingering around the Rogue Valley will continue in southern Oregon as the weekend approaches, regions at higher altitudes will be at risk of poor road conditions.
"If you look at the forecast from the last couple days, most of the area in the cascade mountain passes like OR-140, up near Diamond lake, OR-138 E, and of course I-5. But mostly the areas to look at are the cascades rather than the I5 Corridor."
Leaming says travelers driving through the Cascade mountain passes this weekend should use caution doing so.
"For motorists, the key is to know what those conditions are especially if you are traveling in those higher areas in the Cascades and continue to be prepared for winter travel."
Leaming emphasized winter driving preparedness is especially important as Spring approaches with melting snow and frequently changing weather conditions.
"As we come into the springtime because snow levels can drop quickly and you can get severe snow showers that can limit visibility. We're not out of winter yet so continue to drive to winter conditions when they warrant," said Leaming.
He hopes drivers are already using caution and are aware of current conditions on the road before they decide to travel.
"For those driving in the Cascade mountain passes, leave extra time to your destination. Before you leave the valley have a full tank of gas, make sure you have chains and charged cellphones, and water and snacks. Be prepared to put chains on, especially in the Diamond lake area."
Recently much of the northern part of the state was hit hard with road closures and severe winter weather. Leaming says ODOT has taken that storm and many like it as a learning opportunity of how to best tackle inclement weather and road conditions.
"Anytime you see a situation like [the recent storm in Northern Oregon] there's always learning to come from that. We have learned to shift our resources to the areas that need it, and we certainly did that with the storms in the Columbia River Gorge and the Portland area as well. We've learned over time to adjust our crews accordingly to where those areas of need are, and we did that with this storm as well."
Leaming suggests travelers check Tripcheck for Oregon road conditions, and for those traveling in California to check CALTRAN's Quickmap.