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2020 to bring construction and traffic on Hwy. 26 posted on 11/01/2019

Mount Hood area residents and visitors can expect traffic congestion and delays on Hwy. 26 during the late spring and summer of 2020 as a result of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) construction projects.

“(The planned projects) are for safety and maintenance. We want to assure no further deterioration of the roadways,” said April DeLeon-Galloway, ODOT community affairs coordinator.

ODOT warned that travelers will encounter temporary lane closures along two stretches of the highway, with traffic controlled by flaggers and a pilot car during the construction, and began a public awareness campaign for three projects slated for the Mount Hood area next year at the Sept. 21 Rhododendron Community Planning Organization meeting.

The construction involves paving east of Sandy from Weber Road to East Cherryville Drive (mile post 30.4 –32.5) and between Zigzag and Rhododendron from East Lolo Pass Road to East Arlie Mitchell Road (mile post 41.6 - 44.1). ODOT also plans to upgrade signs from Timberline Highway on Hwy. 26 to Sherwood Campground on Route 35 (mile post 54.2-70.2.)

DeLeon-Galloway stated that design for the projects is underway. She added that there is no construction schedule at this time. Work is expected to begin in late spring or early summer 2020 and conclude in early fall.

 DeLeon-Galloway added “the most complex” of the three projects will involve repaving both directions of the 2.1-mile section of Hwy. 26 east of Sandy beginning at Weber Road.

 “If you drive this section you see a good deal of repairs,” DeLeon-Galloway said. “It’s definitely time to get this one fixed before it deteriorates further and requires full reconstruction.”

The construction will remove and replace two to four inches of asphalt in the area, replace 10,000 feet of guardrail, upgrade 8,000 feet of median cable barrier and replace signs, striping and rumble strips.

ODOT noted that drivers can expect daytime work on the project with potential lane closures reducing Hwy. 26 to one lane. A pilot car will be used to guide traffic through the construction zone. The work may also be scheduled for nighttime if needed.

The ODOT website lists the total project cost for this section of repairs as $4,336,912.

Construction will occur concurrently on a 2.5-mile stretch of Hwy. 26 between Zigzag and Rhododendron. Both directions of the highway will be repaved, and rumble strips will be replaced.

Daytime work, lane closures and flaggers are expected for this portion of repairs. Work crews will construct temporary pedestrian access routes during the repaving work.

The cost of this project is listed at $2.8 million dollars.

“The largest, but simplest project will be upgrading 26 existing signs along Hwy. 26 and Oregon Route 35,” DeLeon-Galloway said.

The guidance and warning signs will be replaced with more durable materials and steel supports.

“The signs will be taller and more durable,” ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said.

This upgrade will prevent the possibility of the signs being covered by snow or damaged by plowing during the winter.

Minimal delays are expected during the project. The cost for the sign replacement is listed as $500,000.

ODOT is currently seeking to address community concerns regarding traffic enforcement during the construction.

“We’ll do our best to coordinate with local law enforcement,” DeLeon-Galloway said.

The construction schedules will be updated regularly on the ODOT project website.

“The public can sign up for alerts,” Hamilton added about efforts to keep the community informed of scheduling and delays related to the construction.

For more information visit the ODOT project page at www.oregon.gov. April DeLeon-Galloway, OOOT community affairs coordinator, can be contacted by email at ApriI.M.Oeleon@odot.state.or.us or phone at 503-731-3117.

Community members are invited to sign up for a newsletter to get updates for ODOT Mount Hood projects at https:lltinyurl.com/MtHoodProjects.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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