REDMOND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown was in Bend this week, promoting two big projects in Bend and Terrebonne funded by the recently passed 10-year statewide transportation package. But, Highway 97 isn’t the only north-south route in Central Oregon to benefit from the bill. "Local jurisdictions will have more capital improvement and maintenance dollars as part of this package, for many years to come. And, we’re already planning for the capital improvements for the dollars that will start to flow," Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone tells KBND News. "One of the big things is the Old Bend Redmond [Highway] corridor."
Commissioner DeBone says Old Bend Redmond Highway will see safety upgrades in the next three to five years. "It’s a parallel path [with Highway 97]. And, there’s a lot of residential in between Bend and Redmond at that point; a lot of people just know it’s there. So, as some people get on there and get where they want to go, the volumes will be growing. And, you know there’s quite a traffic flow between Bend and Redmond at all times, these days." He says that increase in traffic volume creates unsafe situations at some intersections. "A turn lane cane really add some safety and capacity because those three to five cars that want to take a left aren’t stopping traffic. So, adding just a turn lane in some strategic areas can really help the flow."
The $5.3 billion statewide package is also expected to help with other capital projects in Central Oregon, "That’s different than just maintenance. We have existing paved roads and we do aggressive maintenance, chip sealing and striping, annually," says DeBone. "But, this is that capital improvement plan that’s going to grow over the years, adding some capacity and making sure those high-volume intersections are safer for those volumes."
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DeBone and his fellow County Commissioners will discuss the Old Bend Redmond Highway project, highlight successes from the past year, and look at future challenges during Thursday's State of the County Luncheon. That event, hosted by the Redmond Chamber, begins at noon at Juniper Golf Course.