Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation say they have secured $715,000 in federal funds to study moving the Mt. Hood Summit Rest Area on Highway 26 near Government Camp.
Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said the money comes from the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP).
The lawmakers say the rest area dates back to the 1950s, but traffic volumes have increased so much that it is unsafe.
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Anyone who stops there — and most people in Central Oregon have at one time or another — know how busy that rest area can get, particularly in the winter as people head up to enjoy the snow. Additionally, making a left turn out of that rest stop onto Highway 26 can be treacherous given all the traffic that comes through in both directions.
“The FLAP funds are a big deal for the many partners and interests that have come together in support of making this change,” said Doug Decker, Oregon Solutions Project Manager said in a statement from the lawmakers. “The grant will enable all of us to roll up our sleeves now and prepare a solution that addresses the overlapping needs that are just not met by the 1950s-era rest area. Figuring this out can be a keystone for so many positive changes for the community, the environment, and highway safety.”
“For years, the people who live, work, and play on Mt Hood have identified this rest stop area as a safety concern. Millions of people visit Mt. Hood each year, and I’m pleased that the federal government is being a constructive partner to help evaluate safer alternatives,” said Blumenauer in a statement.
“Mt. Hood attracts millions of visitors every year, making the safety and accessibility of the Highway 26/Highway 35 corridor crucial,” said Merkley in a statement. “These federal dollars will support the great work being done by local partners to find transportation and transit solutions around the mountain.”