A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

When the Alsea Highway will be closed

Written July 2nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

At the Smelt Sands State Recreation site in Yachats a couple of weeks ago.

If you plan on taking Highway 34 to the central Oregon coast later this month — whether to visit the scene in the photo above or somewhere else — you might be interested in ODOT’s plan to close a bridge for repairs over one whole weekend.

This is the bridge over Maltby Creek, which is at mile post 35.6, about four miles west of Alsea.

ODOT has announced plans to replace the timber deck of this bridge, which may come as a surprise to motorists like me who never realized there’s a bridge there, much less one with a wooden deck. From behind the wheel cruising along, it just looks like part of the asphalt highway.

Anyway, the point is this: The road there is going to be closed from 7 a.m. on Friday, July 23, until 10 a.m. the following Monday, July 26.

Ever helpful, ODOT suggests: “Take U.S. 101 and U.S. 20 to detour around the work area.” Which seems kind of obvious, since there’s no other reasonable alternative route.

So, if you remember the closure dates, you won’t take the scenic and winding Alsea Highway for your coastal jaunt that weekend.

If you forget, or miss whatever signs ODOT will probably post in Philomath and Waldport, that “detour” might cost you an extra 30 or 70 miles depending on whether you’re headed to the coast or coming back. (hh)

7 responses to “When the Alsea Highway will be closed”

  1. Jannetta K Tibbs says:

    Oh gosh! That is my very favorite route to the coast. Only on the way over though, the way back to the valley is just to many curves going down. I love the curves going up though. Thanks for the info, I have circled the date on my calendar. In the summer I rarely go to the coast. Just too much traffic and too many people. I must say I have always loved going in February. Better rates on hotels etc.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    You don’t say what pavement materials ODOT will use to replace the wooden bridge, so I assume it will be asphalt.

    And given the lack of greenness of asphalt (stone/sand/gravel bonded together with bitumen at a high temperature from production facilities that emit pollutants), what will Oregon’s roads look like in 20 years after the hydrocarbon bans go into effect?

    What road surface will be used to enable thousands of electric trucks to haul tens of thousands of offshore and onshore wind turbines, millions of solar panels, millions of battery modules, and tens of thousands of miles of new transmission lines?

    Maybe Oregonians need to re-think the weather-dependent onramp state government has put them on.

  3. James Engel says:

    Hey, at least go to Alsea to Deb’s Cafe. Great place & good food. Hwy 34 is a GREAT M/C route to & from the coast. Lots of curves to scrape the pipes/pegs on as you twist & turn.

  4. Spencer says:

    James, you’re right, Deb’s is great, especially the pie. I’ve had it at least 3.14 times. Speaking of circuitous routes, if you’re not in too big of a hurry consider taking 99W to Monroe. From there, it’s a beautiful 40 minute drive through the Alsea Falls recreation area and then into Alsea from the south on the Alsea-Deadhead Hwy. There are hikes and views and the dappled sunlight coming through the trees is both irresistible and blinding. Anyway, you’d bypass the bridge construction and then you can continue on to the coast from there.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      As lovely as this route sounds, it doesn’t appear to bypass the Maltby Creek Bridge on 34. Unless you go south from Alsea on the Deadwood Highway and then snake your way across the Coast Range on what appear to be forest roads.

      • Spencer says:

        Oops and wow, you are so right! Your post clearly states west of Alsea yet my brain, for some reason, flipped it around and had it on “this side” (east) of Alsea. Yikes.
        Nice catch!

  5. Don Weber says:

    From Alsea go south and out thru Lobster Valley, This PAVED drive brings you back out to Hwy 34 near 5 Rivers. One of our favorite motorcycle roads after lunch at Debs Cafe.


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