Attention motorists, and people who depend on motorists. If you were bummed out about I-84 traffic impacts from the rock slide earlier this year, you may take heart to learn that a traffic safety project on U.S. 26 west of Government Camp might give Portland drivers a reason to take I-84 through Hood River to reach the mountain and Central Oregon.
ODOT says the project to reduce head-on crashes along what has come to be called “blood alley” will cause one-hour closures, 20-minute traffic stops and one-lane travel this summer and fall.
This project will take place April through October this year, and again in 2015 and 2016.
Work kicks off next week (the second week of July). The project is meant to reduce “severe injury and fatal crossover crashes and rocks that are falling from the over 100 foot cliffs into U.S. 26.”
Starting the week of July 7, K&E Excavating will reduce U.S. 26 to one-lane in each direction on a 2.5-mile section from east of Kiwanis Camp Road to east of Mirror Lake. This will allow the contractor to work behind a barrier on the cliffs that are now too close to the road and drop rocks into the roadway. This lane configuration will remain in place until Oct. 31.
As the contractor stripes the road, travelers will encounter traffic stops of up to 20 minutes.
Blasting the rock slopes will require closures of up to one hour three evenings a week, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The blasting closures will be posted in advance on ODOT’s TripCheck web site.
Construction work will not occur on holidays or Sundays.
No construction work will occur from November to March of each year. During this time all lanes will be open.
For more information, check ODOT’s U.S. 26 safety web site.