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U.S. Highway 20 Freight and Safety Improvements and U.S. 20/OR 201 Cairo Junction Intersection Roundabout

Construction Phase

Region 5: Eastern Oregon (Burns, Ontario, Vale, Harney, Malheur)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​We will improve freight movement and safety along U.S. 20 and OR 201 between Riley and Ontario. We will construct a roundabout at Cairo Junction.​

Aerial photo of Cairo Junction.


Traffic Impact

Three-way stop is now in place for the winter. We do not expect any more changes to this traffic pattern until spring 2024. There are no flaggers.

Please watch for workers and equipment.

Reduce speed and proceed with caution through the work zone.​

Meetings and Events

  • ​​2019 (fall): We met with key industry stakeholders and the South East and North East Area Commission on Transportation.​ . (Note that this video is one hour in length.)
  • 2020 (summer): We met with the Malheur County Safety Commission.
  • 2021: 


Work at Cairo Junction will continue into the winter.

The contractor is grading, paving and pouring concrete outside of the roadway.

Safety Improvements on U.S. 20:

This project includes constructing new and modifying existing pullouts, and upgrading intersections to improve safety. 

Travelers may see possible shoulder work at the following locations for work on pullouts.

  • ​Milepost 114 (Sage Hen Rest Area).
  • Milepost 117.15.
  • Milepost 125.35.
  • Milepost 144.25 (South Harney Road).
  • Milepost 154.45 (opposite the chain up area).
  • Milepost 173.20 (Drewsey Road).
  • Milepost 223.16 (Harper Junction).

Work at intersections on U.S. 20 is tentatively scheduled for April and May 2024.



Enlarged Project MapOverview​​​​​

U.S 20 is a main east-west route for oversized freight traffic through central and eastern Oregon. It is especiall​y important when I-84 is closed or restricted due to weather, crashes or construction.

Challenging curves and the lack of pull-off locations require some extra-large loads to detour about one hundred miles off U.S. 20. This results in safety concerns on the detour routes and transport concerns for the freight industry.
  • Trucks travel at speeds of less than 35 mph.
  • Take up two lanes along narrow and winding sections.
  • Causes delays and potential safety hazards for all travelers.

U.S. 20 Freight Improvements​​

We will improve U.S. 20 for all traffic, including the over-dimension loads that currently have to detour along OR 78 and U.S. 95.

Several intersections along the U.S 20 corridor have been identified as having various safety concerns that need to be addressed.

Safety Improvements

​We will pave seven existing pull out areas between Riley Junction and Ontario. Planned locations include:

  • Across from the Sage Hen Rest Area, milepost 114.10.
  • Milepost 117.15,  on the south side of U.S. 20.
  • Milepost 125.35, on the north side of U.S. 20.
  • South Harney Road, milepost 144.25.
  • Milepost 154.45, opposite the chain up area.
  • Drewsey Road, milepost 173.20.
  • Harper Junction, milepost 223.16.

We will investigate safety upgrades at six additional intersections along the U.S. 20 corridor. 

  • ​Harney Road (milepost 139.2).
  • Crane / Buchanan Road (milepost 154.9).
  • Pine Creek Road (milepost 158.63).
  • Harper Junction (milepost 223.16).
  • Louise Street (milepost 247.5).
  • Halliday Road (milepost 251.1).​

Enlarged diagram of Cairo Junction.U.S. 20/OR 201 Cairo Junction Intersection Roundabout

This intersection in rural Malheur County has a higher than average crash rate. Between 2009 and 2018, it was the site of 31 crashes: 15 injury crashes and one fatality.

We will install a roundabout at this intersection.
A roundabout at this intersection will improve safety. It will:
  • ​Slow traffic through the intersection.
  • Move traffic in the same direction.
  • Reduce the number of crashes.
  • Reduce the number of injury crashes (expect an 80% reduction) and reduce or eliminate fatal injury crashes (based on historical data).
  • Improve traffic flow by reducing wait times to merge during heavy traffic.
  • Improve safety for local residents and businesses adjacent to Cairo Junction. ​​​We will create direct links to the east leg of the roundabout at the cul-de-sac connector. This will also reduce the number of highway access driveways near the roundabout, which have a high potential for crashes.​
Read the FAQ-Cairo Junction Roundabout.pdf for more information.

Driving in a Roundabout​

Driving in a roundabout can be simple. Remember these two things:
  1. Traffic moves in a counterclockwise direction.
  2. Vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way.
For more information,​ read ODOT’s Roundabout FAQ: Roundabout-FAQ-How-to.pdf (​

Other Oregon highway roundabout projects​​​

Watch these videos to learn more about Oregon’s efforts to use roundabouts at dangerous intersections.


U.S. 20 |
  • ​​East of Riley to Cairo Junction, mileposts 114-258.
OR 201 |
  • At Cairo Junction, milepost 31.8.

Cost and Funding

Project cost estimate $16.7 million. This includes $10 million in HB2017 (Keep Oregon Moving transportation bill) funds.


​Marc​um & Sons | Redmond, OR

Additional Information

aerial view of Cairo Jct looking north_111523.jpg
Aerial view of Cairo Junction, looking north, Nov. 15, 2023.

Contacts & Media

Oversized freight taveling on highway.

Project Contact

Region 5 Community Affairs Specialist
Vicki L Moles
Public Comment Form
Submit a commentfor project

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Last Updated

12/8/2023 9:57 AM

Project Number


Project Documents

Related documents to this project brief overview of the project with costs and benefits.
PU_K21230_ProIP_01-updated 051321.pdfProject Information Paper for US 20 Freight and Safety Improvements and OR 201 Cairo Junction Roundabout - Updated 051321
OR201 Cairo Junction Roundabout July 15 In-Person Open House display ad.pdfOR 201 Cairo Junction Roundabout July 15 In-person open house display ad.
FAQ-Cairo Junction Roundabout.pdfFAQ for the Cairo Junction Roundabout_071522