Medford fears isolation after major earthquake

Medford fears isolation after major earthquake
The Interstate 5 via-duct crosses over Medford's East Jackson and 4th Streets near Hawthorne Park Monday March 18, 2013 in MEdford, Ore. Southwest Oregon officials say a state plan for recovering from a major earthquake would keep the region isolated because repair efforts to get traffic moving north-south in that part of the state would be focused east of the Cascade Range where the highway system has fewer bridges and runs through flatter terrain. (AP Photo/The Medford Mail Tribune, Bob Pennell)

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Officials in Medford say an emerging state highway plan for recovering from a major earthquake could keep their region isolated for a lengthy period.

That's because the plan makes a priority of repairs to U.S. Highway 97 through Klamath Falls.

That's east of the Cascade Range, where there are fewer bridges and the terrain is flatter.

The Medford Mail Tribune reports that state planners call Highway 97 the "seismic lifeline" through the region to get traffic moving and supplies flowing after "the big one."

Medford officials say that would delay repairs to Interstate 5 through the mountains of Southern Oregon.

They say it means they'll have to begin planning such measures as improving the I-5 viaduct through town or an alternate route around the city.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press