News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters roundabout to be built in 2024

The Locust/Highway 20 roundabout is set to move forward in 2023-24 — along with many other ODOT roundabout projects throughout Central Oregon. In June of 2022, $5 million was added to the construction budget along with $250,000 from the City of Sisters for preliminary design for the roundabout.

ODOT is advancing funds to maintain the 2024 construction due to halts in the timeline due to COVID and supply-chain issues. The Locust Avenue roundabout is part of the 2024-2027 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program that ODOT conducts every three years. According to the ODOT website: “Every three years, the OTC (Oregon Transportation Commission) puts together the Statewide Transportation Program (STIP) that lays out where we will invest federal and state money in the transportation system — everything from roads and bridges to public transportation to bike paths and sidewalks.”

The Locust/Highway 20 roundabout is the main improvement project in Sisters.

“The purpose of this project is to construct a single lane roundabout at the intersection of Highway U.S. 20 and Locust Street in Sisters, Oregon,” the agency states. “The current intersection fails to meet ODOT operation standards. High levels of truck traffic led to long delays on Locust Street. This intersection has the highest number of vehicle collisions in the city.”

Bob Townsend, the ODOT area lead for Central Oregon, presented the update on the project to the Sisters City Council at the February 8 meeting. Townsend highlighted the proposed timeframe. From now through 2023, this includes preliminary engineering and right-of-way (R/W) acquisition, and having the anticipated bid let in December of 2023, with anticipated construction in 2024.

The Locust Avenue roundabout is like the roundabout at the other end of town, at Barclay Avenue, but with steeper curvature to slow traffic going in and out of town on Highway 20. There will be pedestrian crossing on the sides of the roundabout, like the design of the Barclay roundabout.

Townsend also presented information on other ODOT roundabout projects on Highway 20 between Sisters and Bend. There are two other major construction projects on Highway 20 on the north end of Bend and in Tumalo. These roundabout projects are aimed at improving traffic flow at the Highway 20/OB Riley Road, and Highway 20/Old Bend-Redmond Highway intersections.

According to the project website, there will be, “a bike/pedestrian undercrossing at U.S. 20 and 4th Street in Tumalo and a multiuse path from Cooley Road to the intersection of Old Bend-Redmond Highway. The project will extend two eastbound lanes on U.S. 20 from the Old Bend-Redmond intersection east to milepost 17.23.​”

The roundabouts will be equipped with flashing beacons and ADA-compliant crosswalks and ramps.​”

The Old Bend-Redmond Highway roundabout is expected to be ready for use by May of 2023 and the Tumalo one by July of 2023. Those projects are already impacting speed limits and traffic flow on the drive to Bend, and there will likely be more impacts due to another ODOT project at U.S. 97/20 — the Bend North Corridor Project. Its goal is to improve safety and traffic flow on Highway 20 and Highway 97.

The scope of that was presented by Townsend, which includes another roundabout at Highway 20/Robal Road, a roundabout at Highway 20/Cooley Road, highway widening, and bike and pedestrian improvements.

According to ODOT’s project site: “This project will realign one of the most congested portions of U.S. 97 in Bend and improve a section of U.S. 20. The U.S. 97 Bend North Corridor project includes a realignment of U.S. 97, improved intersections, new ramp connections at critical locations to improve local and highway traffic, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.”

That project is expected to continue through 2023 and into 2024.

Learn more about other ODOT projects across the state by visiting:


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