Work is well underway at the US97 Romaine Village Way to Lava Butte Safety Project. When completed this fall, the $6 million, 4.6 mile long project will feature a new safety median between opposing travel directions, a wider highway, sign upgrades and where possible, rumble strips to alert drivers to lane departures. The work is expected to decrease serious crossover crashes, especially during winter travel months.
During July, crews are building expanded shoulder slopes, with shoulder paving to follow. Paving the main highway is expected to take place in August, during the overnight hours.
Motorists are encouraged to conform to the 50mph construction zone speed limit and be alert for construction crews and equipment moving through the project area.
- Widen the highway by 6-8’ to the west and install concrete median barrier from Baker Road to Lava Butte, with the exception of in front of the High Desert Museum
- Repave approximately 4.6 miles of highway from Romaine Village Way to the weigh station
- Upgrade signs and guardrails, as necessary, and install shoulder rumble strips
Project Information Paper Vicinity Map
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Why this project is needed
U.S. 97 is a critical part of the State’s transportation system and is a major north-south freight corridor that links California and Washington. This section of highway is an important commuter route between Bend, Sunriver and La Pine. Keeping highways in good condition and providing a safe, efficient transportation system that supports economic opportunity are critical aspects of the mission for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
In the last ten years there have been 87 reported crashes between where the existing concrete median barrier ends south of Baker Road and where it begins again near Lava Butte. Of these reported crashes, eight have been head-on and three have been swipe crashes, resulting in five deaths and numerous injuries.
The section of U.S. 97 between Romaine Village Way and the weigh station is showing signs of rutting and extensive wear.
What is planned
In order to install the concrete median barrier, the highway will need to be widened 6-8’ to the west to maintain adequate shoulder width. Once the widening is completed, the concrete barrier will be installed. There will be a gap in the barrier to facilitate visitor traffic at the High Desert Museum. There will also be an emergency services and snow plow turnaround near Lava Butte. Once completed, the median barrier will reduce serious cross over crashes.
The section of highway between Romaine Village Way and the weigh station will have a 2” grind out and then repaved with a 2” dense asphalt inlay. Shoulder rumble strips will be installed once the paving is completed. Signs and guardrails will be upgraded where needed.
Traffic control during construction
Construction is scheduled to begin May 31st and be completed by fall 2016. During shoulder widening, traffic will be limited a single lane in the southbound direction from approximately June through August. Shoulder widening and installation of median barrier will take place during the day. Traffic will experience minimal delays due to the slow speeds through the workzone. Paving will be performed at night starting in August under flagger control. Traffic can expect delays of around 10 minutes between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m during paving operations which should last around two weeks.
Timeline and Estimated Project Cost
The estimated project cost is $6 million.