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ODOT sign project impacted by dry conditions, may be delayed posted on 10/02/2017

Construction on the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s RealTime sign project on Mount Hood was suspended for part of September due to fire danger on the Mount Hood National Forest, potentially delaying completion of the project until next spring.

The signs will offer up to the minute traffic information and advisories, including road conditions and travel times between destinations.

“That put us behind schedule, we don't know how much at this point,” said Kimberly Dinwiddie, ODOT Community Affairs.

The fire restrictions were lifted in late September, but not before losing approximately four weeks of work time. The project had originally been slated to be complete in November, and if crews will have to finish the job in the spring, they will have to wait for the snow and ice to melt before resuming work.

Dinwiddie noted that with work resuming, travelers can expect to see paving the highway’s shoulders, installing guard rails and sign installation in the early part of October. The work is expected to necessitate single lane closures, with delays up to ten minutes, at times.

Once the project is complete, the signs are expected to be operational sooner than initially thought. According to Dinwiddie, ODOT will utilize software from the RealTime signs on Hwy. 217, with some fine tuning, to reduce the lag time before they start working.

For more information on the RealTime sign project, visit TripCheck.com/realtime.

Eagle Creek Fire impact

Dinwiddie added that Hwy. 26 experienced “noticeable congestion” in September during the period of time that Interstate 84 was closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire, although no firm numbers were available at press time. SR 14 in Washington was closed to semi-trucks at that time, with the remaining options for getting around the closures as Hwy. 26 or routes to the south.

Dinwiddie said that landslides are expected to impact Interstate 84 this winter and that any future closures of the interstate could impact traffic on Hwy. 26 in the coming months.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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