Home News Local News Expect some delays as highway projects unfold
Expect some delays as highway projects unfold
Motorists traveling through Union County and greater northeast Oregon should take note: construction season has arrived and, in some places, there might be delays.
The Oregon Department of Transportation recently released an updated list of major projects taking place in the area, most funded by the Oregon Transportation Investment Act. On projects in Union County, ODOT is spending more than $8 million.
In terms of costs, the biggest work in progress going on is the $4.17 million curve realignment and viaduct removal project on State Highway 82, two miles west of Minam. The multi-year project began in 2010 and concludes this year. Work this spring and summer includes completion of curve realignment and removal of an old half bridge.
Contractor JAL Construction of Bend was slated to resume work early this month, with the project completed by the fall. ODOT said motorists can expect to encounter single-lane travel through the area west of Minam, with flaggers and temporary signals present. Travel could be delayed up to 20 minutes.
Also on State Highway 82 in Union County, Summerville contractor D.L. Edmondson is continuing work on the Indian Creek Bridge Replacement Project two miles west of Elgin. The $4.3 million Oregon Transportation Investment Act project is replacing the Indian Creek bridge with a structure that will have two travel lanes, a passing lane and 10-foot shoulders. The project began in 2010 and should be finished by this fall.
“It’s taken three years because there’s no space to build a detour bridge and there was a need to maintain traffic through the area,” said ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg.
People driving through the area should be prepared for flaggers and temporary signals, and travel restricted to a single lane. Delays at the site should be minor, ODOT said.
A third major project going on in Union County is the replacement of sidewalks on Island Avenue in La Grande between the Dairy Queen restaurant and Interstate 84 at Exit 261. D.L. Edmondson is replacing the existing asphalt walkway with concrete. Strandberg said the work will resolve some long-standing safety issues.
“The asphalt was deteriorating and not safe or conducive to pedestrian traffic, especially people with wheelchairs. The concrete will be more durable and safer,” he said.
Work on the $48,000 project started in March and will be completed in June. Drivers passing through the construction zone may encounter lane restrictions and some minor delays.
There are plenty of other highway construction projects going on elsewhere in Eastern Oregon, according to ODOT’s list. In Umatilla County, they include a median barrier and paving project and a striping project on Interstate 84 near Meacham, and an erosion control project on the Weston-Elgin Tollgate Highway.
Baker County projects include pavement chip sealing on the Baker-Copperfield Highway between Interstate 84 and Snake River, a steel truss bridge replacement on Highway 30 north of Huntington, and chip sealing on the Cornucopia and Pine Creek highways.
Strandberg said ODOT is in the process of compiling a comprehensive map of all highway projects that will be posted on the ODOT website. The map, which will be linked to ODOT’s Tripcheck website, will be a handy travel planning tool, he said.
Strandberg said ODOT appreciates motorists being patient with delays in construction zones.
“It’s inevitable for this time of year. We know it is frustrating, and we try to get the message out to plan some extra time,” he said.
He also said ODOT urges drivers to be extra cautious in work zones, where the danger of crashes is high.
“We want folks to be more aware as they approach a zone, more cautious when they see those orange cones and signs. There are a lot of risks for motorists as well as workers.”
In Oregon, fines double for traffic violations in work zones.