Good News for Eastern Oregon Travelers

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Three New Transportation Safety Projects Will Create Safer Roads for Eastern Oregonian Travelers This Coming Winter

EASTERN OREGON – If you live or travel in eastern Oregon, you will be interested in knowing about three BIG transportation safety projects that have been completed in 2020: I-84 Snow Zone Safety Improvements; Ladd Canyon Freight and Culvert Improvement; and the Minam Curve Realignment.

ODOT Region 5 Map. Photo courtesy of ODOT

I-84 Snow Zone Safety Improvements

The I-84 snow zone safety improvements included adding technological advancements in the Blue Mountain Pass area between Pendleton and La Grande. The project included new digital readership signs to warn motorists of accidents, speed changes, or weather advisories. Additionally, weather sensors, lights, and cameras were all installed in the area to keep travelers informed of conditions in real time and help reduce the number of accidents by warning travelers.

“This particular project was developed after we conducted a corridor-wide study on I-84 and I-82 to look at what’s causing the crashes and the types of measures we could implement to reduce those crashes,” said Oregon Department of Transportation Region 5 Area Manager Ken Patterson. “As a result, we identified a number of locations that could benefit from motorist notification; that is the core of this project.”

I-84 Snow Zone. Photo courtesy of ODOT

Ladd Canyon Freight and Culvert Improvement

Ladd Canyon is located about ten miles east of La Grande and is frequently closed in wintertime when trucks spin out of control and block freeway lanes. This project included adding a third eastbound lane to give uphill traffic more space to get around slow-moving traffic or disabled trucks. A bridge was also replaced to reduce icy conditions and restore fish habitats that were impacted by the initial construction of the freeway.

Minam Curve Realignment

The notorious Minam curve is located along the Wallowa Lake Highway, OR-82. This project replaced a steep 25 mph corner that has been the location of numerous accidents over the past decade, especially when conditions are icy. The project involved taking out the dangerous corner by blasting away 360,000 cubic yards of rock from the hillside to realign the road. The corner has now be aligned to the 45 mph speed of the rest of the section. The new corner will improve safety and reduce the number of accidents in the location.

The three projects were designed with the intent to improve safety, reduce the number of crashes, and enhance the livability for local communities and the environment. These annual construction projects are geared towards improving the efficiency and safety of Eastern Oregon’s transportation system. An ODOT video explaining the three projects can be viewed here.

Remember, anytime you need the latest road conditions, visit www.TripCheck.com or call 5-1-1.

About Author

Sarah Dean is Willamette University student and a fellow with the Governor's Communications team.

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