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Answers to Common Questions about ODOT

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Every year, citizens ask us thousands of questions about ODOT  operations, road conditions, safe driving practices and motor vehicle laws. Most of those questions are very specific – about a certain incident or specific law, but some of the questions are more general in nature and are asked frequently. We suggest you look through these questions. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please call 1-888-275-6368 or email us.

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Latest questions

Where can I find out about OReGO, Oregon's road usage charge program?

Visit the OReGO website to learn what is myth and what is fact about this new way to fund transportation. You can read the blog, follow the program on social media and even sign up for the opportunity to participate in this unique program. 

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Adopt-a-Highway and Litter Patrol questions

Who do I contact for more information about the Adopt-a-Highway program?
Visit our Adopt-a-Highway program web page for information about participating in the program including a list of local contacts.
How can I sign up my teenager for the summer Youth Litter Patrol program?
ODOT usually starts recruiting for the summer Youth Litter Patrol in March. Crew leaders must be at least 18 years old, pass a criminal background check, and have a valid Oregon Driver License with an acceptable driving record. Crew members must be at least 16 years old. All litter patrol workers must have a basic knowledge of spoken and written English, the ability to pick up and bag litter along highways, lift and carry filled bags, work in all types of conditions and work in a safe manner along highways with varying levels of traffic. For more information go to www.odotjobs.com and enter the keyword “Litter.”

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Chain and traction tire questions

Where on your website can I find information about traction devices?
Visit www.Tripcheck.com. Hover over the "Road & Weather" tab at the top of the screen. Then move down to "Winter Travel" to pull up a menu of related items. You may want to see "Chain Law," "Traction Tires" and "Chain requirements."
When can I use studded tires on my car?
Oregon law allows the use of studded tires from Nov. 1 to March 31. You should note that these dates may be adjusted by ODOT in order to protect the highway and the safety of travelers. This decision may be made based on road and weather conditions. For more information about driving in snow zones and winter driving in general, visit www.Tripcheck.com.  Hover over the "Road & Weather" tab at the top of the screen. Then move down to "Winter Travel" to pull up a menu of related items. 
I have a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Do I have to use chains if they are required on two-wheel-drive vehicles?
If signs are posted requiring the use of chains, you may proceed in a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle if the vehicle:
  • Has an unloaded weight of 6,500 pounds or less.
  • Is operated to provide power to both the front and rear wheels.
  • Is carrying tire chains.
  • Has mud and snow, all-weather radial, or traction tires on all of its wheels.
  • Is not towing another vehicle.
  • Is not being operated in a manner or under conditions that cause the vehicle to lose traction.

NOTE: During severe winter weather, authorities may place a “conditional closure" on a highway. All vehicles traveling on the highway during a “conditional closure” – including four- and all-wheel-drive vehicles – may be required to use tire chains. 
For more information about driving in snow zones and winter driving in general, Visit www.Tripcheck.com. Hover over the "Road & Weather" tab at the top of the screen. Then move down to "Winter Travel" to pull up a menu of related items. You may want to look at "Chain Law" and "Chain Requirements."
The owner’s manuals of some vehicles say that tire chains cannot be used on the vehicle. Others say that chains are not recommended. What happens in these cases when chains are required?
First, remember that “chains” can be link chains, cable chains, or other devices that attach to the wheel, vehicle or outside of the tire that is specifically designed to increase traction in snow and ice. Then, carefully re-read the owner’s manual. While some manuals say chains cannot be used, others may recommend use of chains specifically designed for limited clearance vehicles. Also, check with your car dealer or your local tire store. They may be able to suggest alternatives to traditional tire chains that are suitable for your vehicle. But the bottom line is: If chains are required and you don’t have them on your vehicle, you cannot drive in the snow zone. 
For more information about driving in snow zones and winter driving in general, Visit www.Tripcheck.com. Hover over the "Road & Weather" tab at the top of the screen. Then move down to "Winter Travel" to pull up a menu of related items.

Does ODOT have workers on the mountain passes to put chains on cars?

No, ODOT does not have workers in mountain passes to put chains on cars. However, there may be people at some mountain passes who will do it for a fee. This service may not be available at all mountain passes or at all times of the day. Typically they give priority to commercial trucks before they serve private vehicles. It is best to be prepared by making sure you know how to put on and take off your tire chains before you leave. Here is a video that demonstrates how to put on cable tire chains.

I noticed that on the Tripcheck website, some snow zones are at the “Carry Chains or Traction Tires” status, but there is a Severe Weather Warning posted. What’s the difference? 
The road conditions posted on the Tripcheck maps are real-time current conditions. So even though a storm may be predicted, road conditions may not require the use of chains or traction tires at the moment (remember: if “Carry Tire Chains or Traction Tires” signs are posted, the law requires you to have these devices in your vehicle). A Severe Weather Warning means that the National Weather Service has issued a warning about an incoming storm. If the storm arrives and begins affecting road conditions, the Tripcheck road condition report will be changed to reflect any new requirements. It’s always a good idea to check the conditions at www.Tripcheck.com before you leave on a trip. Once you’re on your way, you can call 511 for the latest road conditions.
Every time my husband hears on the news that there is a requirement to carry chains or traction tires, he says it means we only have to carry tractions tires. I tell him it means we have to have studded tires already on the car, not just carry the tires. So who is right my husband or me?
We hope you didn’t bet the farm on this question! If signs are posted stating “Carry Chains or Traction Tires,” it means that you only have to have these devices in the car. Whether he’d want to face the hassle of trying to put on a set of snow or studded tires during a howling snowstorm if road conditions change is a different question entirely! 

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Contracting with ODOT questions

How do I sign up to be on your bid list for projects?
Please visit ODOT's online Contracting Portal.

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Driver license questions

I was wondering what type of public transportation would require a Commercial Driver License (CDL)? Also, what are the requirements for obtaining a CDL?
Drivers transporting passengers on highways or premises open to the public in Oregon must have a CDL is they are transporting more than 16 passengers. A CDL also is required if the gross vehicle weight or gross vehicle weight rating is greater than 26,000 pounds or the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials.
More information about commercial driver license and the process for getting an Oregon CDL are available on the DMV website.  

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Highway finance questions

How does Oregon get the money to pay for building and taking care of highways?
The main source of money for building and maintaining highways in Oregon is the state Highway Fund. The Oregon Constitution limits the use of money in the Highway Fund to “the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, operation and use of public highways, roads, streets, and roadside rest areas in this state…” Money flows into the fund from a number of sources, including gasoline tax, weight-mile taxes on commercial trucks, vehicle titling and registration fees and driver licensing fees. Oregon also receives money for highways from the federal government. 

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