News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Crews target July 4 for road opening

Construction crews are hard at work on the east side of McKenzie Pass and plan to have Highway 242 above the gate paved and open by the morning of July 4. Last week, crews began paving preparation work beyond the gate of the seasonally closed pass.

Only the east side of the pass is under construction, but the west side will also remain closed at the gate just beyond Linton Lake until July 4. Limited space for vehicles to turn around on the west side makes it unsafe to open any further towards the summit, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Once the freshly paved pass opens above the gate, there will still be some construction work occurring. Tasks like striping, putting up signage, and clean-up may cause minor delays.

Paving on the east side section of the highway below the gate will continue through July and could also cause some delays. Unlike the upper highway, this section is wide enough to accommodate traffic and construction equipment with single lane closures and flaggers. 

“After a long winter, we know everyone is anxious to head out,” ODOT offered in a statement. “Remember that when this road is closed, it’s closed to everyone. Entering the work zone is dangerous and can cause delays that may slow down the project timeline. Since crews will be working in a closed area, they may work any day of the week and heavy equipment will remain on the road until it’s open.”

Funding from a Federal Lands Access Program grant is repaving Highway 242 from the junction with Highway 20 in Sisters to Dee Wright Observatory at the summit.

There is always the possibility that extreme weather or other unforeseen circumstances could delay the opening past July 4, ODOT notes.


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