SISTERS, OR -- Old McKenzie Highway remains closed for the season. Typically, cyclists and pedestrians would be allowed along the scenic route in the spring. But, this year is different.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is asking everyone to stay out, Monday through Thursdays. ODOT's Peter Murphy says crews are repairing extensive damage caused by last summer's Milli Fire
, "We’ve got road graters and other heavy equipment on the road and we really don’t want cyclists and pedestrians up in that area because it’s going to be a risk to them and to us, too. We’ve got some signs posted on the fence, leading up from the east side to the top. And, when it says ‘extreme danger: road closed, do not enter,’ that’s we want people not to do, is to not enter."
ODOT will open the historic highway on the weekends, but only to pedestrians and cyclists, "Friday, Saturday and Sunday it’s going to be okay, available for people to go up there," Murphy says, "But, the other part of that is that folks who want to visit the Old McKenzie Highway need to be prepared for the dramatic change in scenery that they’re going to see." He tells KBND News, "There are burned trees virtually everywhere, even from before the gate on the Sisters side, up to pretty close the top of the pass." He says even the dirt, road and some signs are charred.
ODOT plans to open the highway to motorized vehicles June 18.