Road work slated for Highway 237
UNION – Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance crews are continuing work east of Union on Highway 237 near milepost 18 (Higginson’s Corner) to cut back a rock outcropping next to the highway.
During winter storms the outcropping created an area where snow drifts would build up on the road, resulting in safety concerns and occasional closures. Most of the major excavation on the project is now complete. However, crews will continue to work in the area over the next couple months.
Motorists can expect intermittent lane closures and delays up to 20 minutes at times. All work on the project is expected to be completed this fall.
“We’re using a boulder buster technique to fracture the rock, so an excavator or loader can break it up and remove the rubble,” said ODOT District 13 Assistant Manager Dennis Hackney. The boulder buster utilizes a shotgun shell size explosive charge placed in a drilled hole filled with water to fracture the rock with an explosive shock.
In addition to reducing snow drifts, removing the rock outcropping will also create additional space next to the highway for storage of snow and ice that is plowed off the road.
Along with helping improve wintertime safety on Highway 237, the rock removed from the project site was used to enhance about a mile of highway shoulders along Highway 203 west of Union. The shoulder work is changing the angle of the steep slope into the adjacent ditch to help reduce vehicle rollovers in the event a motorist veers off the highway. The shoulder enhancement work that is improving safety along this route will continue through the fall as rock material becomes available. Travelers are advised to watch for crews and be prepared for intermittent traffic delays.