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Oregon Department of Transportation crews were working to partially re-open the closed portions of Highway 34 near Corvallis Thursday evening. 

Sections of the highway were closed starting Tuesday, including the highway from downtown Corvallis to Colorado Lake Drive and the bypass at Highway 99W.

Angela Beers Seydel, a public information officer with ODOT, said the goal was to re-open one lane in each direction Thursday evening, but that depended on water clearing off the road.

As of around 3 p.m., she said there was still about 8 inches of fast moving water on the highway.

"We can’t open until it goes down and will be safe to drive through," she said. 

Beers Seydel said before the water was even fully off the highway ODOT crews had begun to clear debris from it, including trees and other items.

“The road shoulders are heavily damaged,” she added. “There is a 12- to 18-inch drop on either side. We’re going to have to replace the rock. People should expect that there will be closed lanes for clean up and repair work at least through next week.”

She said the initial cost estimate for the damage was $55,000 to $60,000.

“But that may rise as we find out more as the water does recede,” she added.

ODOT also announced late Thursday afternoon that it was moving the eastern end of the closure from Colorado Lake Drive to near Peoria Road.

Beers Seydel said that ODOT adjusted the timing on traffic signals on Highway 20 and Highway 99 Wednesday night to try to help alleviate some of the traffic issues caused by people being diverted from Highway 34.

“We know it’s been really tough with everybody on those roads getting in and out of Corvallis,” she said.

As the floodwaters were receding Thursday morning many people from Corvallis walked the bridge from downtown to look at the flooded road.

Oregon State University sophomores Haley Schulte and Lauren McKee were among them. They walked over to see the flooding on a break at work.

Schulte said she is from Wilsonville and she's never seen flooding like this before.

"We thought we should come out and see it since we might never see anything like it again," said Schulte. 

She added that she was surprised to see how much current the floodwaters had as they receded.

"We kind of just expected it to be flat water," she said.

"It's crazy that it was even higher yesterday," McKee added.

·         We can’t open until it goes down and will be safe to drive through.

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Anthony Rimel covers weekend events, education, courts and crime and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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