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Work encompasses paving, sign changes, guardrail and cable barrier replacements

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Construction for Mount Hood Highway 26 road improvements tentatively scheduled for next spring through fall. Besides seasonal showers, Mount Hood residents can expect to see some road construction next spring.

DeLeon-Galloway, ODOT community affairs coordinator, told a gathering of Mt. Hood Area Chamber of Commerce members recently that there are three road improvement projects in the works for next year. The most expensive of the three projects aims to repave both directions of a 2.1-mile section of Highway 26, which runs east of Sandy, and upgrade guardrails, cable barriers, signs, striping and rumble strips.???

"This is the largest because of all of the components (affected)," DeLeon-Galloway explained.

The price tag is estimated at $4.3 million.

Another effort will focus on repaving the section of Highway 26 between East Lolo Pass Road in Zigzag and East Arlie Mitchell Road in Rhododendron. "This section of U.S. 26 is part of a widely used corridor and a significant route for freight, recreating and nearby communities," according to a statement on ODOT's project webpage. "The roadway in this area is in need of resurfacing and other upgrades to maintain smooth, safe travel through the area."

During this project, expected to cost around $2.8 million, rumble strips along the 2.5-mile stretch will also be replaced to improve safety for drivers.

The third endeavor will involve replacing and upgrading 26 existing guidance and warning signs along highways 26 and 35 with signs made from "more durable materials and steel supports.????"

"Signs will be taller and more durable to reduce the possibility of being covered by snow or damanged by plowing during the winter season," the ODOT said. "All signs, with the exception of two, will be replaced in their existing locations."

The sign on Highway 35 directing people north to Hood River a quarter-mile prior to the exit, will be moved to one mile before the exit and the sign signaling how many miles are left to Portland and Sandy will be moved onto the roadway. The estimated cost of these sign changes is $500,000.

"(These) are as simple as we can get on paving projects," DeLeon-Galloway said. "They're so we can keep the road from deteriorating. If we were to wait on maintenance, there would be more time, more traffic disruption and more cost to taxpayers. We don't anticipate any permanent changes to access to driveways or right of way."

ODOT expects to seek bids for all three projects in February 2020. Construction is tentatively scheduled for spring through fall of next year. "We're trying to keep all of these projects scheduled to daytime work as well," DeLeon-Galloway said.

The projects may require the use of pilot cars, but officials expect minimal traffic delays during construction. Residents should receive information on these projects in the mail.


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