US 97 @ Wickiup Junction (La Pine)
8/11/16 - Work on the Wickiup Junction project located at the north end of La
Pine is progressing ahead of schedule. If you live in the area, you
have probably noticed a majority of the earthwork required for the new
alignment of US97 leading up to the Railroad overpass has been complete. As
such, the prime contractor, High Desert Aggregate & Paving, has left the
project for the time being. The bridge work is still progressing by a
subcontractor and we anticipate completion of the new overpass structure
sometime in November of this year.
Once the bridge is complete the project will be shut down this winter and
work will resume late next spring once the weather is suitable for paving. We
anticipate work to start sometime around April or May. From there it should
take approximately 2-3 months to complete the work and have traffic running on
the new roadway. The schedule next year is still flexible, but we will
provide updates as things progress over the next 6 months, specifically
regarding the effect to traffic next year.
- Realign US 97 to the east of its current location and build a railroad overpass to the south of the exiting at-grade crossing
- Connect Burgess Road to the realigned US 97
Project Design Map Railroad Overcrossing Project Information Paper
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|Why this project is needed|
US 97 is a critical part of the State’s transportation system, and is classified as an expressway in the project area. Keeping highways in good condition and providing for safe travel are critical parts of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s mission. |
The at-grade railway/highway crossing on US 97 at Wickiup Junction is the only at-grade crossing on US 97 in the entire state. Drivers on US 97 who are not familiar with the area do not anticipate having to stop for trains nor are they anticipating have to stop for school buses and vehicles carrying hazardous materials that are required to stop at railroad crossings regardless of whether a train is approaching or not. These create an extremely unsafe situation on the highway. This safety problem has forced local school buses to avoid this section of the highway and to have to travel out-of-direction to complete their routes.
Currently there are on average 10-12 trains per day passing through Wickiup Junction. This is expected to increase over time.
The traffic volume on US 97 through the project area is currently at 10,000 vehicles per day, and is projected to increase to 13,000 by the year 2032. The traffic volume on Burgess Road east of Huntington Road was 3,050 vehicles per day in 2011 and is projected to increase as well. The increase in traffic intensifies the need to improve safety at the railroad crossing.
|How ODOT proposed to solve these problems|
|ODOT partnered with Deschutes County and the City of La Pine to develop a solution for the safety problem at the BNSF/US 97 railroad crossing at Wickiup Junction. A number of alternatives were explored but the selected near term solution is to realign US 97 to the east of its current location and build a railroad overpass just south of the current at-grade crossing. New connections will be built for Burgess Road to the realigned US 97 (see the current design map). |
In developing a solution for the railroad crossing, there were a number of goals and objectives identified by the agencies and the public that were considered. These include:
- Provide a transportation solution that safely accommodates projected travel demands for all users and modes 20 years into the future
- Maintain mobility and minimize traffic delays for US 97
- Minimize costs and maximize project value (cost-effective solution)
- Provide safe and reasonable access to area communities, Wickiup Junction businesses, and recreational destinations while minimizing out-of-direction travel
- Maintain reasonable access between US 97 and Burgess Road
- Consider options that improve bicycle and pedestrian movements in the Wickiup Junction area
- Maintain the viability of the current Park & Ride and consider the ability to expand the lot in the future
- Support Wickiup Junction’s role as a part of the City of La Pine’s commercial center for highway, recreational, and local traffic
- Minimize US 97 traffic delays during construction, and address other construction related impacts to BNSF, the local transportation system and surrounding land uses
- Achieve consistency and compatibility with the Oregon Highway Plan, applicable objectives of the ODOT’s US 97 Highway Strategy, and the Oregon Highway Plan expressway designation for US 97
|Project Cost Estimate|
|Complete environmental work
|Design and final plans