Travel between Sisters and the Willamette Valley took a long step toward normalization as Highway 22 reopened to traffic in the Santiam Canyon on Tuesday, October 11. Oregon Department of Transportation officials estimate more than 30,000 hazard trees have been removed along a 40-mile stretch of Highway 22 that saw heavy roadside damage from high winds and wildfires in early September. Hazard trees include dead, dying or leaning trees that were damaged by the wildfires, and would likely fall down on and block the highway.

As commuters resume travel on the highway, officials advise:

• The speed limit is reduced to 40 mph between Gates (milepost 33) and Pamelia Creek Road (milepost 63).

• Significant work continues in the canyon and travelers should expect delays throughout the burn area.

• Utility companies are working throughout the corridor to repair power lines and are continuing to cut down hazard trees.

• Other hazards to travelers include damaged guardrail, roadside log decks and slash piles from the hazard tree removal, as well as the potential for falling rocks.

• With fall and winter rains beginning, slides and debris flows are a particular concern, especially in areas where the vegetation, tree roots and underbrush have been stripped away.

• Since many businesses and other facilities were damaged or destroyed by the fires, there are limited services available throughout the Santiam Canyon. Commuters should fill their gas tank, pack enough water, food and other supplies for the trip.

• Access for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, will be available and identified through or around the work zones.