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US 97: Iris Lane
Latest News
Beginning Monday, August 31, there will be a temporary closure of Iris Lane to the east of US 97 so the approach can be reconstructed to match the widening of the highway.  The closure is expected to last a week.  Signs will be installed alerting motorists of the closure and to use an alternate route.  Emergency services, the US Postal Service, county and city personnel, and residents will be notified in advance.
The $1.1 million US 97 Iris Lane contract was awarded to Hooker Creek Construction of Bend, Oregon in May.  Construction began in July and is scheduled to be completed by the middle of October.
There will be no lane closures on US 97 during the day.  Motorists can expect ocassional lane closures at night.
For the most current construction news please visit the Region 4 (Central Oregon) Newsroom.  For the most current traffic conditions in the project area, visit TripCheck or dial 511.

Project Components
  • Construct a left turn lane at the intersection of US 97 and Iris Lane
  • Construct a right turn deceleration lane for southbound US 97 traffic
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Why does Oregon need this project?
Iris Lane at US 97 looking west, near Culver, Oregon.
Iris Lane at US 97, looking west.
Highway US 97 is a critical part of the State's transportation system.  US 97 carries a large volume of traffic from the Washington to the California border.  It is also an important highway for local commuting traffic.  Keeping traffic moving and highways safe are critical parts of the mission for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
US 97 south of the US 26 junction (MP 97.26) and north of the OR 361 junction (MP 105.73) is primarily a two-lane facility designated as an expressway.  It is of statewide importance as a major north-south freight way through Central Oregon.  Along this section of highway there are numerous local road connections with US 97 that create user conflicts and have resulted in numerous crashes, including fatalities.  There are limited passing opportunities due to road geometry and numerous intersections of local and private roads resulting in left turn and cross movements.
Because this section of US 97 is classified as an expressway and a major freight corridor, access to the highway is controlled (limited) and must be under permit.  Unauthorized, multiple accesses in the same area, or poorly designed access points (i.e. poor sight distance), can slow traffic and be a safety issue for both travelers on US 97 and those entering/exiting the highway. 

How does ODOT propose to solve these problems?
The long term plan for US 97 between US 26 (MP 97.26) and OR 361(MP105.73) is to extend the existing climbing lane and add a passing lane.  To safely accomplish this, several of the existing local street connections with US 97 will need to be closed and left turn movements consolidated at intersections to serve local users. The Iris Lane project represents the first phase on this strategy.  The Iris Lane and Highland Lane intersection improvements are listed as the number 1 and 2 priorities (Table 4-1, page 26 ) in the Jefferson County Transportation System Plan, adopted September 5, 2007.
ODOT will construct a center turn lane and a southbound right turn deceleration lane at the intersection of Iris Lane and US 97.  The additional lanes allow for vehicles to move from travel lanes making it safer for turning.
Earlier, with improvement at Iris Lane, the plan was to close Highland Lane on the east and west sides of US 97.  This has been postponed for now. 

Public Involvement
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) hosted an open house on January 30, 2008 to discuss the US 97 at Iris Lane Project.  Approximately 50 people attended the open house.  Meeting notes and a summary of the public comments are found below.

Projected Construction Cost

Key Project Milestones
Field surveys, environmental clearances – Summer 2007 
Preliminary design – Fall 2007 
Right-of-Way acquisition – Spring 2008                                                                                    
Final Design – Spring/Summer 2008
Bid Let – Spring 2009 
Construction – Summer 2009

ODOT Key Contacts
TitleOffice Phone
Email address
Rob PetersConstruction Specialist(541) 388-6398Robert.W.Peters@ODOT.state.or.us
Stephanie SerpicoConsultant Project Mgr.
(541) 388-6309
Gary FarnsworthArea Manager
(541) 388-6071
Rex HollowayCommunity Liaison Rep.
(541) 388-6178