Construction on Highway 20 between Bend and Tumalo is getting closer to an end, while the Highway 97 portion of the Bend North Corridor Project is ramping up.
The $175 million project is designed to improve traffic flow where the highways merge on Bend’s busy north end.
All four new roundabouts between Bend and Tumalo are open with one lane. By the end of October, the Oregon Department of Transportation expect all to be fully operational with two lanes.
“The contractor is working nights to pave the final wearing course this week. Next week working on road signs and striping. Targeting an October 1st opening,” said Zach Davis, the project’s resident engineer.
The roundabouts on Highway 20 are the easy part of the North Corridor project. The real monster comes next.
ODOT is moving part of Highway 97 — the Bend Parkway — a few hundred feet east between Empire Avenue and Cooley Road. It involves mountains of earthwork and construction of walls that will support new ramps and a flyover bridge.
“We have three bridge structures, more than 10 walls. Beginning construction of the flyover structure that will go over the new US 97 alignment,” said Davis.
The current highway will become an extension of Third Street. That will allow continued access to shopping centers on the north end while the new Highway 97 will allow drivers to bypass that traffic.
Construction activity will move out of the travel lanes on both highways so that Labor Day weekend traffic can flow through the work zones.
“Come about Friday, most of our construction work in any of our construction areas around town will be off the road. There might still be some work going on in the background, on the shoulders. We are going to leave as much lanes and traffic open for traveling folks as we can because we know it’s a big, busy weekend coming up,” said ODOT pubic information officer Kacey Davey.
The Highway 20 portion of the North Corridor Project is about 90% complete and ahead of schedule. The Highway 97 portion is about 15% complete and currently on schedule for completion at the end of 2024.