A studded tire. File photo: Chas Hundley

OREGON - Studded tire season has once again been extended in light of social distancing orders as the state grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, the Oregon Department of Transportation had extended the usual end date for the road-damaging traction devices of March 31 to May 1.

But in a missive sent on Friday, April 17, the agency bumped the deadline to 11:59 p.m. on May 15.

Typically, the agency allows motorists to use studded tires between November 1 and March 31; in 2018 both the Washington Department of Transportation and ODOT extended the studded tire deadline in their respective states to April 15 due to forecasts calling for late-season snow that could impact travel throughout both states. Previous to April 2018, the last time the ODOT extended its March 31 deadline was in 2012.

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ODOT says studded tires over time cause major damage to local, county and state roadways. A 2014 study conducted by the state agency concluded that studded tires cause about $8.5 million in damage each year to Oregon roads, highways, and freeways.

"ODOT encourages drivers to have their studded tires removed before May 15 if it can reasonably be done while maintaining social distancing," the agency said in their latest deadline extension.