REDMOND, OR -- Work on the Highway 97 Redmond to Bend Safety Project is planned through 2028. That includes installing medians, removing left turns, and creating ‘J’ turns along the nine-mile stretch between the two cities.
ODOT Regional Director Gary Farnsworth says people who live or work along the highway have, for the most part, been very receptive to changes, “There are some specific concerns about public safety, getting access for emergency services, ambulances. Those are the kinds of things that we're hearing more about, but not so much the issue of out of direction. And one of the reasons why it's not that big of a deal anymore is because they have to wait anyway.” ODOT is telling people who live and work along the highway what to expect, “We've been sending mailers chased by phone calls with many people that live in, and operate or own property on either side of the corridor.”
Farnsworth says they let people know what is going on, but when it happens is dependent on budget, “We in region four, we do get an allocation of safety-related funds. We would do more, faster, but we're really looking at the timing of when funds will be available to do a lot of this work.”
Farnsworth also said he expects work just west of Bend to be completed soon. “We expect to be finished up on all of the US 20 corridor between Bend and Tumalo, four roundabouts and other improvements we're making on the corridor within another month or so. It's gone really fast.”