Oregon Coast Travel News: Upcoming Work on Highways 26 and 20
(Newport, Oregon) – Some major changes are coming for those traveling in the coast range mountains from the valley to the Oregon coast. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released information regarding decisions on how the Dennis Edwards Tunnel refurbishing project will happen next year, while the road between Newport and Corvallis will have some delays this week and next.
This week, the highway between Newport and Corvallis will experience some construction delays. ODOT will be blasting rock near Eddyville along Highway 20 on Monday, which will result in some lane restrictions and some road closures. Work during the day and night will also mean a single lane of travel throughout this week.
The contractor on the US 20-Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville project plans to remove approximately 4,000 cubic yards of earth in the blast on Monday, April 26. Changes in traffic will happen between milepost 24 and 25, east of Eddyville.
On Monday, the blast may close the road. The westbound lane will be closed and a pilot car will guide traffic. Between 9 a.m. and noon, the road will be completely closed.
For the following week, until Saturday, May 1, day and night work will create 10-20 minute delays, which will again affect the westbound lane. That work will go on 24 hours a day and could mean short, periodic closures.
Alternate routes include Highway 34 between the coast and the Willamette Valley. Large trucks should use Highway 99W or I-5 to Highway 22 to Highway 18 to the coast.
Later in May, there will be a larger closure on Highway 20. From May 14 to May 17, the road will be completely closed for blasting of about 900 feet off the eastern slope at milepost 22.
On those days, Highway 34 between Corvallis and Waldport will be the detour route, which can add some considerable time to travel. Highway 126 from Eugene to Florence may be faster for some just south of Corvallis, while Highway 22 from Salem to Lincoln City will be preferable for those just north of town.
ODOT suggests trucks take 99W or I-5 to Highway 22 near Salem.
In March, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) held three public meetings for input on the project that will reinforce the tunnel along Highway 26 between Portland and the Oregon coast. The tunnel was built in 1941, and now needs lining, drainage and lighting improvements, which will create some closures for 12 weeks in early 2011.
Initially, ODOT also wanted to increase the vertical clearance so larger commercial trucks could get through with greater ease. ODOT Region 1 Manager Jason Tell said the input from the meetings was quite clear: communities who were dependent on tourism did not want the extra few weeks of closure that would be the result of this work.
Really large commercial vehicles must sometimes close off the tunnel briefly so they can pass through the middle, where the vertical clearance is at its highest. Most coastal residents regarded these instances as extremely rare and not worth the extra construction time to fix.
The tunnel closures will only take place during weeknight hours for approximately 12 weeks. The tunnel will be open during the day and on weekends.
“ODOT will design a specific public awareness campaign, incorporating the tourism industry and targeting media throughout the region to remind the public that the coast is open for business,” Tell said.
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