News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Road work will continue for months on highways

Damage from wildfires and danger from falling trees and rocks will make reopening Highways 22 and 126 between Sisters and the Willamette Valley a slow and arduous process.

ODOT reported last week on work on Highway 126 to Eugene.

“Once initial tree and rock removal and stabilization is done, ODOT crews will be repairing burned pavement, replacing destroyed guardrail and signs, and clearing culverts and ditches. Travelers should expect multiple work zones with lengthy delays for months to come.”

ODOT opened Highway 242, the Old McKenzie Highway, up to the McKenzie summit on Friday, September 25. Access is allowed ONLY from the gate west of Sisters to the summit at about Dee Wright Observatory. No access will be allowed on the western portion of the highway until additional firefighting and danger-tree removal has been completed, ODOT reports.

Highway 22 remains closed indefinitely from Gates Hill Road (milepost 33) in Gates to the Highway 22/20 intersection at Santiam Junction.

“The wildfires damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of trees along (Highway 22),” ODOT reported. “These hazard trees are a threat to the road and to the travelers that use it. Crews have been working hard to remove them so we can open up other sections of the highway. Also, miles of guardrail and hundreds of signs have been damaged or destroyed and will eventually need to be repaired or replaced.

“ODOT’s immediate goal is to get the hazard trees cleared, and then use pilot cars from the east and west to open these communities while we work on the other repairs. ODOT continues to work closely with the Oregon State Police, and the Marion and Linn County Sheriff’s departments on a daily basis and will continue to coordinate our efforts with them to open up the communities of Detroit and Idanha.”

Other highways in the state are also closed because of wildfire damage to the roads. ODOT is working to open these highways as quickly and safely as possible to allow access for property owners and the communities that were impacted.

Highway 22 and Highway 126 are major commercial routes across the Cascades and primary routes for travelers.


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