This project will realign one of the most congested portions of U.S. 97 in the City of Bend and improve a section of U.S. 20. The U.S. 97 Bend North Corridor project includes a realignment of U.S. 97, improved intersections, new ramps connections at critical locations to improve local and highway traffic, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
U.S. 97 is the main north-south highway through the central portion of Oregon connecting Oregon to California and Washington. U.S. 20 is a primary east-west highway in Oregon. In the Bend area, both highways are primary routes that help local residents commute through town and is a connection to area shopping, dining, businesses, schools and recreation. Central Oregon's population growth over the last decade has increased traffic congestion and, in turn, reduced safety for motor vehicles, pedestrian and bicyclists.
These improvements will do the following:
- Aid with congestion
- Support economic vitality
- Reduce traffic volume and speeds at high conflict locations
- Increase freight mobility
- Improve travel time reliability
The project is proposing roundabouts at Robal Lane and Cooley Road, with a median barrier between the roundabouts and multi-use paths and enhanced shoulders at several locations. The multi-use paths will tie into a multi-use path that will be built along U.S. 20 between Cooley Road and Old Bend-Redmond Highway. A third roundabout is planned, in a separate but related project, at the intersection of Old Bend-Redmond Highway and U.S. 20.
The resulting corridor is anticipated to provide significant improvement in mobility and accessibility for this area a well as reduce congestion, increase travel time, and reduce crashes. The most notable features are the roundabouts, which have been shown to not only reduce the frequency of crashes but the severity of crashes.
This aspect of the project is proposing an extension of the expressway by realigning U.S. 97 farther east, closer to the railroad tracks. With this realignment the expressway traffic will not go through signals, which will significantly improve travel time reliability. As part of the realignment, a multi-use path will be constructed between Empire and the northern end of the project.
The purpose of the U.S. 97/U.S. 20 Bend North Corridor project is to identify and implement a long-term solution to maintain a safe, efficient U.S 97 and U.S. 20 in the north end of Bend. ODOT completed an Environmental Impact Statement in 2014 to help identify the best solution for balancing transportation needs. 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 effort of refinement to reduce impacts and fit within a smaller budget continued and initial funding via
Oregon House Bill 2017 (Keep Oregon Moving), and was then complimented with a recent federal INFRA Grant for $60.4 million in 2019. At which time, ODOT Region 4 determined to proceed with the project and pursue a design-build method which has been formally approved as of February 2021.
Cost and Funding
This project was awarded a federal INFRA Grant for $60.4 million in 2019. These funds are being leveraged with $50 million from the Cooley Mid-term Improvements Project, funded from highway bond proceeds associated with Oregon House Bill 2017
(Keep Oregon Moving), in addition to various other city, county and developer contributions.
This project will be delivered through a design-build process. This process will include an RFQ, RFP, and Alternative Technical Concepts (ATC).
Bicycles, Pedestrians and ADA Accessibility
This project will improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity along the U.S. 20 and U.S. 90 highways by building multi-use paths and other improvements.
Multi-use path: 10-12 foot buffered multi-use path from the southern project limits to the northern project limits where it will link in with the proposed multi-use path up to the proposed Old Bend Redmond roundabout.
Multi-use path: Multi-use path connection from U.S. 20/Cooley roundabout to the path in front of North Start Elementary School.
Multi-use path: Approximately 1.5 miles of a low-stress 10-12 foot multi-use path between the southern end of the project limit and the northern end of the project limit between the existing US97 and the proposed realignment.
Multi-use path: Multi-use path on north and south side of Cooley Road through the Cooley railroad crossing to the eastern end of the project limits.
Enhanced crossing: Enhanced crossing to improve pedestrian and bicycle visibility at the existing crossing on southbound US20 ramp toward Empire.
Bicycle ramp: Southbound bicycle ramp to the proposed enhanced crossing for bicycles traveling southbound.
Lower speeds: Proposed design target speeds along U.S. 20 and future 3rd Street of 35 miles per hour.
Enhanced crossing: Enhanced crossing to improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Robal Lane along U.S. 20 by adding Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) to each leg of the proposed roundabout.
Enhanced crossing: Enhanced crossing to improve pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Cooley Road along U.S. 20 by adding RRFBs to each leg of the proposed roundabout.
Curb ramps: pedestrian facilities will be upgraded or rebuilt to include more than 50 curb ramps that meet ADA standards.
View ADA Standards here.
These bicycle and pedestrian improvements will help ODOT reach a more robust multimodal transportation network. Multimodal improvements will provide Oregonians cleaner options for getting where they need to go, reducing carbon emissions (see graphic below), and increasing reliability and safety for everyone.
Motor Vehicle and Freight
Both U.S. 97 and U.S. 20 corridors would experience significant travel time benefits under Future Build conditions. With significant number of U.S. 97 through vehicles using the new bypass, the overall traffic volume along 3rd street would be reduced significantly thereby improving operations and reducing congestion along 3rd Street. As a result, 3rd Street and Cooley Road intersection would operate with significantly lower intersection delay.
Enhancements to the pedestrian and bicycle will provide better connectivity to transit stops. The project will also be working with Cascade East Transit (CET) to build a new transit stop near Target that will support the re-routing of one of their least reliable routes. This adjustment is anticipated to significantly improve the reliability of this route which includes their busiest stop. The improvements to both U.S. 97 and U.S. 20 corridors are expected to significantly improve travel time and intersection delay, resulting in better operational times for transit.