News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Plans for Locust Street roundabout advance

The proposed roundabout at Locust Street and Highway 20, adjacent to Sisters Elementary School, is closer to reality, according to Bob Townsend of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 4.

Townsend told City Council at their July 27 workshop that Sisters has been selected to receive $5 million from the “Enhance” portion of the 2024-27 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Projects in this category are aimed at improving safety and redirecting congestion on some of Oregon’s busiest roadways.

The $5 million will help to replace the intersection with a four-legged, single-lane roundabout that will help traffic flow smoother and more safely on this busy road.

The allocation will be formally adopted in the summer of 2023 for the 2024-27 budget cycle, but work can move forward prior to then because of other monies coming from the City and Deschutes County.

The proposed time frame for the project calls for preliminary engineering and rights-of-way acquisition between now and 2023, with an official project bid secured by late 2023. Substantial construction is scheduled for completion prior to Memorial Day 2024 in time for the summer tourist season.

The Locust/Highway 20 roundabout is phase two of a three-part traffic improvement project which includes the already-completed Barclay/Highway 20 roundabout (phase one) and widening and straightening of Barclay Drive (phase 3). When all three phases are complete, it will be possible to redirect freight truck and through automobile traffic off Cascade Avenue to the alternate route located north of downtown.

Last year, the Oregon Transportation Commission allocated $65 million to the “Enhance” part of the 2024-27 STIP, which will fund a total of $2.2 billion in projects. The commission required several factors to be considered in selecting projects, including those that improve safety, support multimodal accessibility, are equitable, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The commission also required at least 30 percent of the projects to be located outside of a Metropolitan Planning Organization boundary, recognizing the need to serve highway users in non-urban areas.


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