Roundabout project gets under way at east intersection

 

Last updated 3/19/2024 at 3:08pm

Photo by Jim Cornelius

Dignitaries from the City of Sisters and Deschutes County wielded golden shovels in the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Highway 20/Locust Roundabout.

With a few ceremonial shovelfuls of dirt turned over, the US20/Locust Roundabout construction project is under way.

City and county elected officials, Oregon Department of Transportation representatives, along with construction personnel gathered on the south side of the Locust/Cascade intersection on Monday morning to officially inaugurate the project.

Mayor Michael Preedin noted that the effort was six years in the making, starting with initial impetus from Sisters Public Works Director Paul Bertagna. Partnerships between the City of Sisters, Deschutes County, and the State of Oregon brought the work to fruition.

Preedin noted that the project, in addition to smoothing out the eastern entrance into town, is designed to divert through traffic to an alternate route along Barclay Drive. He said that if 20 percent of vehicles use the diversion, that's 20 percent fewer vehicles congesting Cascade Avenue, which can be exceedingly traffic-clogged, particularly in the summer months.

Plans call for the highway to be deviated from its current track for a gentle curve into the roundabout, designed to slow traffic coming into town from the east. The construction will eat into a portion of property that is now the Sisters Elementary School tennis courts.

Much of the old highway will be removed, torn up, and seeded to make it look natural, according to ODOT officials. ODOT will retain the right-of-way, but they have indicated that they are open to a land swap if the City of Sisters has use for any of the land.

The project will require the closure of North Locust Street until Memorial Day weekend. Three legs of the roundabout are expected to be functional by that holiday weekend, with the project fully completed in September 2024.

Access to the Sisters Elementary School from East Cascade Avenue will remain open.

ODOT is contributing $5 million in state transportation improvement funds, which will combine with $1.425 million from the City of Sisters, and $1 million from Deschutes County to fund the project.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit www.frontierpartisans.com.

 

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