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New snow zone condition added to chain regulations

TripCheck.com and 511 provide winter travel news

The Oregon Department of Transportation has amended the state’s chain regulations to add a new snow zone condition. The change addresses situations where chains are not needed for tandem drive axle trucks but are needed for other vehicles. The Oregon Trucking Association requested the change.

Need to check the pass conditions for Siskiyou or Sexton mountains? Look no further than TripCheck.com, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s travel information Web site. The TripCheck.com network of cameras now includes more than 200 cameras statewide.

Under the new condition, when signs are posted, you must use chains on any single drive axle vehicle rated over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) and you must use chains if your vehicle is towing and less than 10,000 GVW (such as a pickup towing a boat). Chains must also be used on the trailer or vehicle being towed. Under this condition, chains are not required on tandem drive axle vehicles. “There are times when large multi axle trucks might not need to put on chains, but single drive axle trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or vehicles towing trailers will need to chain up,” said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. “The new chain condition is another tool for ODOT to use during inclement weather conditions and we expect it will help keep traffic moving with fewer tie-ups.”

Winter weather conditions can occur almost any time “It’s a good idea to carry chains whenever you travel, especially in fall and winter months,” said ODOT Maintenance and Operations Engineer Luci Moore, “Oregon law requires you to carry chains in snow zones, regardless of the weather conditions.” In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used. This is known as a conditional road closure and may occur on any of Oregon’s highways. “Regardless of whether the chains required signs are posted, it is every driver’s responsibility to maintain control of their vehicle at all times,” said Marmon. Drivers who disobey the signs requiring chains or traction tires are subject to a traffic infraction, $190 for failure to obey snow zone signs and $544 for failure of a commercial vehicle to use chains.

Chain information including snow zone notices, chain requirements and diagrams are posted on Oregon’s travel information Web site, www.tripcheck.com.

Cell phones, PDAs Oregon road condition information is available for cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The new service provides incident information, road closures, traveler services, camera views and more, formatted specifically for the smaller screens of mobile devices. Users simply go to the site on their mobile device, www.TripCheck.com or www.TripCheck.com/mobile. An easy-to-use menu offers access to traffic alerts, incident information, road conditions, and traveler services. In addition, cameras within three miles of a reported incident are linked directly to that incident for quick visual checking. Users can also create and save a list of the cameras they check most often. The new mobile site also offers easy links to restaurants, lodging, gas stations, camping and attractions. Users simply follow the menu to find options, select one and click the link to dial the hotel directly.

5-1-1 service ODOT’s phone system provides the same road condition information as TripCheck.com, simply dial 511. Please be aware that some phone companies in Oregon do not support the 511 dialing option. If your carrier is among this group, please dial our other toll-free number 800-977-ODOT (6368). If you are dialing from outside the state of Oregon, please dial 503-588-2941. Use TripCheck 511 system’s voice recognition system to ‘speak’ your instructions into the system, just follow the prompts provided. This can speed your use of the system and make selection easier, particularly for cell phone users. The system will also allow you to interrupt the information being presented if you want to navigate to another menu. For instance, speak ‘highway’ at continued on page 9

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