Monday, March 9, 2009

US20 In Oregon: Road Improvements

The Oregonian says that a stalled project for improvements to a stretch of US Route 20 in Oregon is now moving forward. In an article titled ” U.S. 20 gets a boost” they give some details:

The project: In 2006, the Oregon Department of Transportation and contractor Granite Construction began a $150 million project to straighten a treacherous 10-mile section of U.S. 20 between Pioneer Mountain and Eddyville, a popular route to the coast.

The new stretch would shave four miles off the current drive, open the road to 53-foot semitrailers -- currently not permitted on the tight curves -- and be expected to reduce the accident rate.

What happened: In 2007, the project came to a halt after the state Department of Environmental Quality fined ODOT $90,000 and Granite Construction, doing business as Yaquina River Constructors, $240,000 for water quality violations involving erosion that damaged salmon spawning grounds in the Yaquina River and its tributaries.

After nearly a year of negotiations, ODOT and Granite agreed on a plan to stabilize ancient landslides. Workers returned to the job last spring, setting a new completion date of late 2011.

What's new: The Oregon State Transportation Commission added $13.8 million in federal stimulus money to the project. The extra cash will allow ODOT to make improvements on curves at the west end of the project that it originally had tabled because the repairs were too expensive.

"It would not have been fully up to standard," said Vivian Payne, ODOT Area 4 manager. "This additional money allows us to make those curve improvements the right way."

It is also more environmentally friendly, Payne said, because they will replace a culvert with a bridge. "In the long run, it will be a better highway for users as well as a better environmental solution for fish and other resources."

The full article, ” U.S. 20 gets a boost” can be found here.

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found at, here.

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