Photo by Garth GuibordRhody's road to reworking Hwy. 26 has options posted on 02/01/2023
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will seek
feedback from the Mountain community on three different concepts for changing
the layout of Hwy. 26 in Rhododendron through a virtual open house, available
online between Feb. 1-22 at tinyurl.com/RhodyOpenHouse.
Sandra Hikari, ODOT Major Projects Planner, noted that the
U.S. 26 Rhododendron Refinement Plan, which launched last year and included a
drop-in event last August on the Mountain, doesn’t have funding yet and they
hope to identify whether the project is feasible first.
“We’re looking at what’s the feasibility and what are the
constraints and opportunities of each of the designs,” Hikari said.
The project’s goal is to address transportation safety,
access and connectivity issues in the community, including identifying the
appropriate number of highway lanes, identifying the safest locations for
pedestrians to cross Hwy. 26, evaluating entry and exit points for destinations
and businesses, evaluating bus stop locations and other improvements, such as
sidewalks, bicycle lanes and dedicated driveways.
The concepts for the open house include a five-lane
alternative (with a pedestrian refuge island), a three-lane alternative (with a
pedestrian refuge island) and a three-lane alternative with no island, along
with a “no build” option.
Hikari added that ODOT has done some analysis that indicates
a three-lane alternative would not cause much more delay than keeping the
highway configuration as it is, but it would push congestion further to the
“We’re going to see congestion in the future either way,” she
Once ODOT has a preferred alternative, it would be developed
in further detail with a document on it expected to be complete by the end of
Visit the online open house at tinyurl.com/RhodyOpenHouse or
use the QR code in this edition.
The community’s desire for improvements to the highway was
previously documented by the Rhody Rising committee of the Rhododendron
Community Planning Organization (CPO), which is also considering the future
development of buildings and the community.
Mike Miskowicz, CPO President, noted that the Rhody Rising
committee is currently in a holding pattern.
By Garth Guibord/MT