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McKenzie Pass Opens Monday

SISTERS, OR -- After a long winter and some surprising spring snow dumps, Oregon Department of Transportation crews have cleared OR 242 and the gates open for all travelers on Monday, June 20. The pass closed for the winter season on November 1. 

ODOT reminds motorists driving this winding road to be on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians, as this is a popular scenic route for many types of road users. Remember vehicles longer than 35 feet are prohibited from using the historic highway due to its sharp, narrow curves. And, travelers could still encounter snow on the side of the road around the higher elevations of the pass. In the event of more late snow storms, there may be plows on the road.

Private funding built the highway in the 1870s for use as a wagon toll road. The section between the towns of Blue River in Lane County and Sisters in Deschutes County became a Forest Road in 1919, and soon after in 1925 was designated an Oregon State Highway.

McKenzie Pass became a seasonal scenic highway in 1962 with the completion of Oregon 126. Even during its tenure as the main route between the southern Willamette Valley and Central Oregon, the narrow, twisting roadway and high elevation (5,325 feet) made the highway too difficult to maintain and keep clear during the winter months.

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