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US 97: Lava Butte - South Century Drive
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The U.S. 97 Lava Butte - South Century Drive Project was completed in the fall of 2012. 
Project Information Paper - April 2011 
Vicinity Map  









The three year and $16 million US 97: Lava Butte - South Century Drive Project was awarded to Knife River Corporation - Northwest in June 2009.   The project was partially funded ($11.7 million) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  
The construction schedule was as follows:
 Reconstruct the southbound lanes including
 building two new undercrossings
  Fall 2010 to Fall 2011
 Complete construction of southbound
 entrance ramp at Cottonwood Road
  Spring 2011
 Open Access to Crawford Road (Lava Lands
 Visitor Center and Benham Falls)
  May 2011
 Complete construction of the new northbound
 lanes at the project ends
  Spring/Summer 2011
 Complete Construction of the new frontage
 road access to Lava Lands Visitor Center and
 Lava River Cave
  Summer/Fall 2011
 Complete construction of wildlife fencing   Spring 2012
 Construction completed   Fall 2012

Project Components
  • Increase traffic capacity of US 97 between South Century Drive and Lava Butte by constructing a four lane highway (two lanes in each direction).
  • Separate northbound and southbound traffic with a forested median of up to a maximum width of 108 feet.
  • Reconstruct the Cottonwood Road interchange from a partial to a full diamond interchange.
  • Eliminate dangerous intersections by constructing alternative access to Lava Lands Visitor’s Center and Lava River Cave via Crawford Road and Cottonwood Road.
  • Build four structures under US 97 to reduce wildlife/vehicle crashes and facilitate wildlife movement.

Why this project is needed
US 97 at the entrance to Lava River Cave looking south towards Cottonwood Road exit.
US 97 at the entrance to Lava River Cave looking south.
The project is needed because US 97 and other roadway approaches in the project area do not and, will not, meet traffic operations and safety needs.  Current lane configuration of US 97 does not provide for adequate capacity for existing and forecast travel demands, nor are there safe ways to access and exit the highway at several key locations in the project area, including Lava Lands Visitor Center, Lava River Cave and Cottonwood Road. 

The highway and accesses do not meet current design and operational standards to accommodate existing and forecast traffic volumes.  Traffic volumes in certain locations exceed or are forecast to exceed the capacity of the existing highway during peak travel periods, resulting in congestion, delays, reduced mobility, and greater potential for crashes.

How ODOT plans to solve these problems
The proposal is to: (1) separate northbound and southbound traffic with a forested median of up to an approximate maximum of 108 feet in width, (2) increase the capacity of the existing two- and three-lane highway to four lanes (two in each direction), and (3) reconstruct the Cottonwood Road interchange into a full diamond interchange (on and off ramps in both directions).
Highway access would be limited to the Cottonwood Road interchange and a right-in access to the Lava Lands Visitor Center and Benham Falls at Crawford Road.  In the winter, right-out access for southbound US 97 traffic would also be provided at Crawford Road to allow for recreational uses.
Direct highway access would be removed at Lava River Cave, and the project would provide alternative access with a new access road east of US 97.  The new access road would connect Cottonwood Road and Lava River Cave, and cross under US 97 to connect with Crawford Road.
In an effort to reduce the number of wildlife/vehicle crashes and facilitate wildlife movement and habitat connections, structures and fencing to accommodate wildlife passage under US 97 in two locations are being proposed.  One set of the structures is part of the connection of Lava River Cave to Crawford Road.  

Project Materials

News Releases
July 15, 2010 - Paving Begins On US97 Lava Butte Project 
April 12, 2010 - Coffees with ODOT to begin again April 14 in Sunriver 
July 1, 2009 - Coffees with ODOT to begin July 8 in Sunriver 
April 3, 2009 - South US 97 Safety and Improvement Project Work Begins 
Environmental Documents
 Final EA       Draft EA Sections 1 and 2 
 FONSI  Draft EA Section 3
 De Minimis Finding   Draft EA Sections 4 and 5
 August 2008 Hearing Flier   Draft EA Appendices

ODOT Contacts

Office Phone
Email Address
Jay Davenport Asst. Project Mgr. (541) 388-6383 Jay.Davenport@ODOT.state.or.us
Stephanie Serpico
Consultant Project  Mgr.
(541) 388-6309
Gary Farnsworth
Area Manager
(541) 388-6071
Rex Holloway
Community Liaison Rep.
(541) 388-6178