BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation is looking to address traffic congestion on Highway 20 through Tumalo. ODOT’s Alia Burck says traffic has grown dramatically in the past 20 years. In 2000, the agency counted an average of just 8,100 vehicles per day traveling through the area. "By this year, it’s expected to increase to 15,200," Burck says, "Which is nearly double the 2000 count, making the conditions substantially of a greater concern than they even previously were, which is why moving forward with this project – the timing couldn’t come sooner, I think."
Increased congestion isn't new in the High Desert. But, Burck tells KBND News, some areas handle it better than others, "We see that specifically impacting this particular area, so we definitely know something needs to be addressed because the way things are right now is leading to a lot of congestion and side street traffic. And, just, it’s not as safe for our pedestrian crossings, the way things are currently."
ODOT will start taking public feedback at an open house next week, from those who know the stretch of highway best, before working up any designs, "We’re still very loosely workshopping ideas, so there’s nothing specific that we’re putting forward as a preferred alternative, which is kind of why we’re asking people to come to this open house. We’re wanting to get people in on the process while it’s still so early." That open house starts Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m., in the Tumalo Community School gym. Click HERE for more information.
The state is working with Deschutes County on the project, which is expected to eventually cost $10 to $15-million.