The Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel. Photo: Chas Hundley
BUXTON – A deadly crash at the east end of the Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel has closed Highway 26 in both directions, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
As of 3:25 p.m., the highway had reopened, according to Banks Fire District and ODOT.
The Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel is located near mile marker 41 between the Timber Junction and the Vernonia turn off at Staley’s Junction
A photo shared by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office shows a severely damaged vehicle that appears to have been damaged by fire. The front half of the vehicle is nearly unrecognizable.
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According to ODOT, it was the only vehicle involved in the crash.
“I have no estimate on when the highway will reopen,” said Lou Torres, a spokesperson for ODOT.
There are a few alternate routes available. While some are using Scofield Road, this route is a gravel, residential area and may not be suitable for some vehicles, such as RVs and vehicles towing boats to the coast.
If you are heading to Seaside, from Highway 26, veer right on Highway 47 North for Vernonia. Drive about 12.5 miles and turn left on Timber Road. Follow Timber Road until it joins Highway 26 and turn right toward Seaside.
Use Highway 47 and Timber Road as an alternate route.
Another route is to instead take Highway 6 to Timber Road, taking a right, driving through the Timber community, where it joins Highway 26 a few miles beyond. Turn left toward Seaside.
Use Highway 6 and Timber Road as an alternate route.
On scene are crews from Banks Fire District 13, ODOT, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Oregon State Police.
This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.