Projects move ahead on Highway 97
The Jefferson County Commission signed on in support of the Oregon Department of Transportation plans for an exchange at Highway 97 and Lower Bridge Way just north of Terrebonne.
After looking at several different concepts and a tremendous amount of feedback, ODOT believes it has finally arrived at an alternative that meets the original goals for Terrebonne and the community at large generally supports.
The overpass exchange allows those turning onto Highway 97 from Lower Bridge Way to merge with traffic largely without stopping. Highway 97 will pass over the Lower Bridge Way intersection.
The plan involves speed reduction elements and an enhanced pedestrian crossing in downtown Terrebonne.
"While these improvements are substantial and will help provide more route options and overall operational benefits, we recognize congestion during peak travel periods will remain a concern within Terrebonne," said Bob Townsend, ODOT area manager. "However, as we carefully balance community input with overall impacts, this alternative clearly provides significant safety benefits for all modes of transportation."
Townsend expects construction to begin on the exchange in 2023 and complete in 2024 or spring of 2025.
Commissioners also signed a Memorandum of Understanding about closing Southwest Bear Drive and Southwest Eureka Lane and improvements to the intersection of Southwest Dover Lane at Highway 97.
In September, the Oregon Transportation Commission approved money for improvements at Dover Lane, and ODOT expects to begin construction in 2023.
An increasing number of serious accidents along Highway 97 near Bear Drive prompted ODOT to close Eureka Lane and the west branch of Bear Drive.
County Commissioners persuaded ODOT not to close the east branch of Bear Drive until improvements have been made at Southwest Ford and Southwest Falcon lanes, which will likely get more traffic once Bear Drive closes.
ODOT says crews will move utility poles by the end of October, and ODOT will add gravel or paving to increase the turning radius for those two intersections.
Currently, concrete barriers and traffic barricades close off the intersections. Discussions begin in late November on how the permanent closures will look.
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