▶️ State ODOT officials tour local project sites

The intersections of Highway 20 and Hamby Road, and U.S. 97 and Cooley, are listed in the top 5 percent of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s safety priorities.

ODOT was awarded a grant for 60 million dollars to begin work on the Bend North Corridor Project between Empire Avenue and Cooley Road earlier this year.

Thursday afternoon, transportation officials toured other areas along Highway 97 to get an up close and personal look at future projects.

“The purpose of today’s tour is to give the commission a perspective of all the work that’s going on in Central Oregon,” said Kris Strickler, deputy director at ODOT. “We’ve been really lucky over the last several months to get significant federal funding coming in to a project in the north corridor area for U.S. 97, and that’s been a good leveraging opportunity to bring in other funds from our local partners.”

Friday, commissioners will discuss adding to local projects federal funding received through the grant process earlier this year.

Twenty-two million dollars would go toward the North Corridor project, nearly $4 million dollars to the U.S. 97 South Century to the U.S. Forest Service Boundary Project, and another $500,000 of funding to improve the intersection of Highway 20 at Ward and Hamby roads.

“Our process has the commission kind of in that oversight and endorsement role and so they have to evaluate funding options that come in to those projects,” Strickler said. 

While Strickler says he can’t speak to whether the commission will approve funding tomorrow, he also says there aren’t any foreseeable road blocks.

“I don’t see anything that would hinder that approval or those processes,” he said. “The commission is very supportive of the work that we’re doing in Central Oregon, but certainly that’s a choice for them.”

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