The U.S. 97 Bend North Corridor Final Environmental Impact Study was completed in response to the tremendous population growth in Bend and central Oregon and increasing congestion on U.S. 97. This growth has caused disruptions in traffic flow, making traffic delays longer and increasing the number of severe and fatal accidents. Even with the economic downturn in 2008, the population of Bend still grew and with this growth, traffic on U.S. 97 continues to increase.
The purpose of the U.S. 97 Bend North Corridor project is to identify and implement a long-term solution to maintain a safe, efficient U.S 97 in the north end of Bend. Because federal funding will be required for this project, ODOT and Federal Highway Administration prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that examined, in detail, and compared the environmental and community impacts and benefits of two build alternatives (East DS1 Alternative and East DS2 Alternative) and a No Build Alternative.
After the public comment period that ended in September 2011, ODOT and Federal Highway Administration considered all comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to help identify the best solution for balancing our transportation needs now and into the future. This process identified the East DS2 Modified Alternative as the preferred alternative for the future U.S. 97 Bend North Corridor Project. This alternative will construct a new alignment of U.S. 97 to the east of the existing highway alignment and convert existing U.S. 97 into a local 3rd Street route. This alternative also improves intersection safety and enhances mobility throughout the corridor.
Following the identification of a preferred alternative, ODOT and Federal Highway Administration worked with local agency partners to explore opportunities to scale down and modify the alternatives to reduce impacts, address public comments, and reduce the overall cost of the project.
This project was shelved in 2014 until funding was identified. In 2017, this project was identified in House Bill 2017 for a $50 million improvement at the intersection of U.S. 97 and Cooley Road. In 2019, ODOT received a federal grant for approximately $60 million, helping to make this project a reality. To find out more about the current status of the U.S. 97 Bend North Corridor project visit: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/projects/pages/project-details.aspx?project=21229.
The north end of the city of Bend
Cost and Funding
Alternatives range in estimated costs between $170 to $220 million.
What Problem Will This
Even a decade ago, U.S. 97 was highly congested during peak hours. Traffic flow has worsened since that time, with drivers having to wait longer at signals. Travel delays on U.S. 97 are expected to continue to increase with future growth. Severe injury and fatal crashes are also increasing on U.S. 97, and the intersections of U.S. 97 at Robal Road and U.S. 97 at Cooley Road have more accidents than similar intersections in the state.