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ODOT seeks input as it plans improvements for the highway running through Madras

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - The Oregon Department of Transportation wants feedback from drivers, residents and businesses about a new construction project to rebuild the highway through Madras from Earl Street on the north to Colfax on the south.

As planners spread maps of Madras across their desk, now's the time for people to provide feedback about how the highways through town can improve.

The Oregon Department of Transportation plans to make $21.5 million worth of improvements on U.S. Highway 26 from Earl Street north of Madras to its junction with U.S. 97, and the north and south bound lanes of U.S. Highway 97 from Chestnut to Colfax Lane.

GRAPHIC COURTESY ODOT - The shaded area outlines where ODOT will reconstruct and resurface Highway 26 and U.S. 97 through Madras from Earl Street on the north to Colfax on the south. Where the shaded area extends beyond the corridor includes storm water and sewer improvments.

Some work outside the actual Highway 97 corridor includes storm water and sewer improvements.

ODOT expects to begin construction in late 2025 or early 2026 and finish about two years later.

The plan includes reconstructing and repaving the highway, which is part of ODOT's regular highway maintenance, streetscaping and new signals.

"The street scape will be very similar to what currently exists on U.S.97 northbound near J Street," said ODOT Public Information Officer Kacey Davey, "but this could change depending on feedback from the community."

Madras already has one enhanced bicycle/pedestrian crossing. The plan calls for adding two more.

"These are crosswalk areas that will light up and flash for road traffic so they know someone is going to cross," said Davey.

The project page on the ODOT website lists potential improvements including curb cuts with ADA compliant ramps, upgrade sidewalks, upgrade traffic signals with buttons, resurface bridges and address repairs one one bridge.

ODOT will add lighting.

"Lighting will be the same as what's currently installed on northbound U.S.97 near J Street," said Davey.

The plan includes traffic signals at J Street where it intersects with U.S. 97 northbound on Fifth Street and southbound at Fourth Street.

ODOT will coordinate with the city of Madras for storm water and sewer improvements.

The blueprints are still a work in progress and ODOT encourages people to give their input.

"We want to hear from community members to make sure our plans fit their needs," said Davey. 

ODOT says outreach could include anything from open houses and public meetings to mailers and online surveys, or all of the above.

"Of course folks are always welcome to call us at any time with questions or concerns," said Davey.

Contact information is available on the project page at the ODOT website.


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