U.S 20 is a main east-west route for oversized freight traffic through central and eastern Oregon. It is especially 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.
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).
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.
Driving in a Roundabout
Driving in a roundabout can be simple. Remember these two things:
- Traffic moves in a counterclockwise direction.
- Vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way.
Other Oregon highway roundabout projects
Watch these videos to learn more about Oregon’s efforts to use roundabouts at dangerous intersections.
- 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.
Marcum & Sons | Redmond, OR
Aerial view of Cairo Junction, looking north, Nov. 15, 2023.