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Road Closure and Construction Update Sept. 8-19, 2014

 
 
 
U.S. 26 will close to all travelers between the west end of Government Camp and east of Kiwanis Camp Road for rock blasting from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the following days:
 
  • Thursday, Sept. 11 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16
  • Thursday, Sept. 18
 
To keep people out of the blasting area, the Mirror Lake Trail and the Laurel Hill Chute Trail will also close at this time. Flaggers will ensure trail users are aware of the trail closures due to blasting. Please follow the directions from the flaggers on the trail to ensure safety. The parking lot at the Mirror Lake Trailhead across from the work area and the Laurel Hill Chute Trail will close all day to prepare the area for blasting. All unattended vehicles in these parking lots will be towed.
 
Future blasting is set for Monday, Sept. 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
 
Monday's through Friday's, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, K&E Excavating will continue excavation and work on drainage from the work area at Mirror Lake. During the week they will haul excavation materials to sites along Lolo Pass Road, Laurel Road, Trillium Lake Road and Road 31. Travelers should expect slow moving trucks on U.S. 26 entering and exiting from behind the barrier and along Lolo Pass, Trillium Lake and Laurel Roads hauling will take place during work hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
K&E Excavating will also work on Saturday's behind the barrier crushing rock. This work will not affect traffic.
 
In addition to the truck traffic and closures for rock blasting, travelers will encounter the following traffic impacts:
 
  • Intermittent lane closures on U.S. 26 will occur between Mirror Lake and Map Curve Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. One lane will remain open in each direction.
 
  • Road 31 will also be closed Monday’s through Thursday’s to allow crews to place trees removed from the slope. Road 31 will be open Friday’s through Sundays.
 
  • On U.S. 26 only one lane will remain open in each direction along a 2-mile section around-the-clock through October 31. Travelers should expect delays.
 
The speed limit is reduced to 45 miles-per-hour in this work zone. Please be alert to increased enforcement.
 
 
 

Aug. 20 Lolo Pass Public Meeting Video Coming Soon

Thank you for sharing you concerns and ideas about trucks on Lolo Pass Road and other haul roads. A video summary of the meeting will be posted on this website in early September. Currently, ODOT is considering the solutions presented by the community at the Aug. 20 meeting. ODOT will respond to those solutions in the early weeks of September.
 
Increased truck and trailer traffic is occurring on roads leading to the materials stockpile and disposal for the U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Safety Project. ODOT and K&E Excavating are committed to safety. Truck drivers are required to follow all traffic laws and be aware of other people using the road.
 
Trucks are hauling rocks, trees and other materials from the slopes of U.S. 26 to several sites on Mt. Hood. Hauling will occur April through October in 2014 and 2015, starting at sunrise and until 7 p.m. We apologize for the inconvenience.  
 
Here are some things you can do to stay safe when sharing the road with trucks:
 
BE VISIBLE: If you are walking, jogging, riding a bike or riding a horse be as visible as possible and wear reflective clothing.
 
LISTEN for oncoming trucks and do not use head phones that could block the sound of trucks approaching.
 
BLIND SPOTS: When riding a bike, ride with traffic and in the middle of the travel lane so you do not end up in a trucks blind spot.
 
WALK FACING TRAFFIC: When walking, walk on the opposite side of the road to keep your eye on oncoming traffic and be more easily seen.
 
PULL OUT SAFELY: When pulling out of your driveway onto the haul roads, fully stop and look for trucks and other road users before proceeding. Consider parking so that you can pull out of your driveway rather than back out to increase your ability to see oncoming trucks. 

Project Summary

The Oregon Department of Transportation is currently designing a project to improve safety by reducing severe crossover crashes that lead to fatalities and serious injuries and reduce rockfalls on the Mt. Hood Highway (U.S. 26) just east of Rhododendron and Oregon Highway 35.
 
 
Work will include:
 
  • Placing a concrete barrier between the east and westbound lanes of U.S. 26.

  • Cutting back the rock slope from the highway and building retaining walls to protect historic trails

  • Repave nearly eight miles of U.S. 26 from east of Rhododendron to OR 35
 
 

Construction Impacts

   

Construction will begin in the late spring or early summer 2014. During construction, you will still be able to get to your favorite spot on the mountain or wherever you are heading. However, the reality is construction will delay people moving through the area. While we will have some short-term highway closures and there will be some delays, we will work to keep people moving.
 
Here is what to expect when construction takes place:
 
  • Travelers should expect closures up-to one hour three days a week Monday through Thursday in the early evening between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for blasting the rock slopes. ODOT is still working the details to the exact time of these closures. Not all of these closures will take a full hour. However, it is best to plan on being delayed for an hour during these times. The closures are times based on how many vehicles are using U.S. 26 and on available sunlight. Nearby trails will also close briefly during the blasting operations.
 
  • Intermittent traffic stops lasting 20-minutes anytime the contractor is actively working
 
  • One lane closed between Kiwanis Camp Road and Mirror Lake around-the-clock for rockfall and retaining wall work. This means only one lane will remain open in each direction.
    (See photo to the right) Mt Hood Safety Project_Temporary Work Zone_Draft 8-23-13 (2).jpg

  • Increased truck traffic on U.S. 26 and on roads leading to disposal sites including Lolo Pass Road, Trillium Lake Road and Laurel Road.
 
  • Intermittent single lane closures and flagging for other work instead of full highway closures.
 
  • Construction work will not occur on holidays and Sundays.
 
  • No construction work will occur from November to March of each year. During this time all three lanes will re-open.

 
 
Increased Truck Traffic
 
Nearly a million cubic yards of rocks and other materials will go to several disposal sites on Mt. Hood. These sites include: ODOT Maintenance yard at U.S. 26 and OR 35 Junction, Tamarack Quarry, Laurel Quarry and two sites along Lolo Pass Road. This means increased traffic on U.S. 26 and the roads leading to these disposal sites.
 
 
ODOT will make sure the roads leading to these sites are maintained during construction and will return to pre-construction conditions after work is complete.

Construction will only take place during the months of April through October. More details about how construction will affect travelers will be available in early 2014. Construction will take place for three years starting in 2014.
 

 

 

Crashes and Safety Concerns on U.S. 26

The Mt. Hood Highway is one of the most beautiful drives in Oregon taking travelers through the Mt. Hood National Forest. However, many safety concerns exist along this highway and many crashes have occurred. And sadly, some crashes prove fatal. crashmthood2.JPG
 
 
Crashes between a half-mile east of Kiwanis Camp Road to east of the Mirror Lake Trail Head (mileposts 49.4-52.2) from 2002-2011
 
109 crashes occurred
30 were cross-over crashes of which
11 crashes were head-on
4 people died
88 people were injured
 
 
 
 
 
The purpose of this project is to reduce the crossover crashes that cause severe injury and even death. Placing a concrete barrier in the middle of U.S. 26 can help reduce the most severe of crashes.
 
An independent team of traffic safety, emergency response, and highway professionals performed a Road Safety Audit of U.S. 26 between Camp Creek and Government Camp determined that placing a concrete median as well as reducing rockfalls and extending passing lanes would improve highway safety.
 
To learn more about the safety audit and crashes along U.S. 26 click here.

 

Schedul

  • Construction Starts – June 2014
  • Construction Ends* - 2016
  • *subject to change based upon weather and site condition

 

 More Information 

Read ODOT's responses the written comments submitted to ODOT in the spring of 2013 from the virtual and in person open houses.

Written Public Comments from Spring 2013.pdfWritten Public Comments from Spring 2013.pdf

Read the frequently asked questions that we heard in the spring of 2013 and the responses from ODOT.
 
 
Review documents sent from ODOT to FHWA describing inconveniences and temporary closures to the Laurel Hill Chute, Mirror Lake and Pioneer Bridle Trails during construction of the U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Safety Project.
 
Virtual Open House from March 2013 explaining safety concerns and project elements:
 

 

Contact Information

 

For questions or comments about the Mount Hood Highway Safety Project, please contact: 
 
Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs

 

(503) 731-8281

 
 
*Official project name as noted in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan is FFO-US26: MP 49.2 - MP57.45

 

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Get Microsoft SilverlightU.S. 26 Sept. 4, 2014 Test Blast