BEND, OR -- Work zone traffic congestion should ease a bit in Tumalo in a few weeks, following months of work on two separate Highway 20 projects. Kacey Davey, with the Oregon Department of Transportation, says four new multi-lane roundabouts between Bend and Tumalo should fully open by early October, if not sooner. Most have one lane open. "For the Bend North Corridor section, big shout out to our contractor, we are ahead of schedule with getting those roundabouts done," says Davey There’s still more to do on Highway 20, "There’ll be a bunch of stuff still happening, but most of it will be happening off the road: signs getting installed and striping, and some finishing touches on that side."
Davey tells KBND News, "The project down in Tumalo also has some things other than roundabouts that are happening, like the tunnel that’s under the highway for bikes and pedestrians. They’ll still be working on that for a little bit and it will open a bit later this fall because they’re doing that after they finish the roundabouts." She urges drivers to continue to be cautious in the work zone. The speed limit between Bend and Tumalo is still 35 miles per hour, "Just keep it slow and steady. The roundabouts will also be slowing down traffic a bit, but hopefully they’ll also help in keeping traffic moving in all directions."
Prep work is now underway on the Highway 97 side of the North Corridor project, "Most of the work, actually throughout this year, will continue to happen on the side of the road, as they get the bridge structures prepared, get the new section of highway prepared. So there won’t be any major traffic impacts to the 97 side until next year." But, Davey says, drivers still need to pay attention, "It does look like on 97 that they’re widening the highway, but what they’re really going to do is just shifting traffic over a little bit to the west, to give themselves extra space to work." That lane shift is expected to take effect later this fall.