Authorities are gearing
up to enforce chain requirements this winter on big rigs when a snowstorm
hits the Columbia River Gorge. A series of electronic signs will warn truckers
that they must have chains on or face a citation.
The Oregon State Police
and Transportation Department crafted the plan last winter requiring that
trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds use chains on Interstate 84 from near
Portland to The Dalles as soon as a heavy snowfall creates the risk of an
The Chain Checkpoint
Plan is activated only after the state declares a wintry condition covering
the entire gorge area. Because of mild weather last winter, the new policy
was used only once, during a December snowstorm. Word quickly spread over
the CB radio and truckers began pulling off the road prior to the checkpoint.
Some drivers told state
police it was against company policy to use chains.
Oregon officials have
coordinated plans with authorities in Washington to prevent trucks from avoiding
the rules by heading across the Columbia River. Officials did acknowledge,
however, that most truck traffic crosses the river at The Dalles or Biggs
Junction, well east of where either state would require chains.