BEND, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Transportation is rolling out plans to widen another segment of Highway 97 south of Bend to four lanes, this time a six-mile stretch south of the South Century Drive Sunriver exit.
ODOT held a public meeting Wednesday evening to receive input from the community.
The state recently completed widening another section of Highway 97 south of Bend. The projects are aimed to reduce crashes and traffic jams, and collisions with wildlife.
This proposal would widen a stretch of Highway 97 about 15 miles south of Bend, from South Century Drive to the Forest Service boundary, including a median with vegetation.
Because of frequent crashes, ODOT also wants to improve the intersection at Highway 97 and Vandevert Road to allow easier crossing and a possible U-turn section.
ODOT also proposes two new wildlife undercrossings or overcrossings to protect motorists and animals.
"ODOT has identified it as a seismic resiliency corridor, so we're really interested in making sure it's a viable route should the Cascadia (earthquake) event happen," said Della Mosier,interim area manager for ODOT. "The number of crashes have been pretty high in the recent past, but we do have a four-phase strategy to make strategic, incremental investments on the US-97 corridor."
The project's price tag is estimated at $25 million. Project development will continue through this year, and ODOT hopes to begin construction by 2019.
They're also holding an online "open house," so if you would like to learn more or take a virtual tour, you can visit their website at: