As Oregon struggles to reopen amid increasing COVID-19 case counts, traffic on highways is showing a continued increase, although it remains about 25 percent below 2019 levels.
"The most recent full week of data reveals statewide average traffic volumes are 19% below 2019 for weekday traffic and a 26% lower volumes in weekend traffic compared to the previous year," the Oregon Department of Transportation reports.
On major routes, traffic dipped to an average of 61% below 2019 levels during the week of March 23-29, the first week of Gov. Kate Brown's stay-home order. Since then volumes have steadily grown, with the biggest rebound seen on Highway 97, which serves Deschutes County, among the first to begin Phase 1 re-opening.
During the partial week of June 15-17, traffic on Highway 97 was just 6% lower than a year ago; during the same period, Interstate 5 traffic, which flows through areas slower to reopen, was down 19%.
Heavy truck traffic, which transports the food, beverages and other consumer items, such as toilet paper, that Oregonians never stopped buying, is now slightly above levels recorded in early March before activity began slowing.