McKenzie Pass plowing begins; cyclists urged to wait

The Oregon Department of Transportation has started plowing the Old McKenzie Highway near Sisters, but is asking cyclists to avoid the area until it’s officially open to ride.

“There is a serious hazard to bicyclists who choose to ignore the warning signs at the gate outside of Sisters,” said ODOT spokesman Peter Murphy. “These signs are posted for the safety of everyone and ignoring them presents risks to themselves and the operators of the heavy equipment transiting the highway.”

Crews are encountering 9 feet of snow below Windy Point and a reported 105 inches at the Obsidian Trailhead. This will take some time for ODOT to remove and access is prohibited while the plowing is underway, Murphy said.

The road is an official Oregon Scenic Byway that cuts through an ocean of lava rocks. It typically opens to cars the third Monday in June, but for a brief period in the spring it’s only open to cyclists and hikers.

ODOT will make an announcement on those dates at a later time.


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