TERREBONNE, OR -- After years of negotiations with Deschutes County and the Terrebonne community, the Oregon Department of Transportation will soon start work on Highway 97 improvements at Lower Bridge Way. The project includes a new “dog-bone” interchange, designed to provide safer access to Crooked River Ranch. "US 97 will essentially be a bridge over the roads that go underneath, with on and off-ramps," says ODOT's Kacey Davey, "So, that’s a really good safety feature and something that’s going to help traffic flow through the area."
ODOT initially wanted to split north and southbound traffic with a "couplet" on 11th Street, in an effort to increase capacity and reduce congestion. But the plan was scrapped after outcry from several Terrebonne businesses. Davey now tells KBND News, "There will be two-way traffic on US 97, just as it is now. So, we’re not going to split and do northbound one way, and then another block over do southbound."
Davey says the goal is to instead keep traffic moving with other improvements, "There’s going to be an easier way for people to turn left onto 97. People who are coming from east of the highway - So, say you’re coming from Smith Rock - you’ll be able to go to this interchange and have a safe and easy way to merge onto 97, instead of having to wait and dart out across traffic as you’re trying to go southbound."
Some local roads will also get upgrades, through a partnership with the county, "There will be improvements to 11th Street in Terrebonne, which is that other parallel street. But that’s just going to be streetscaping and sidewalks, and making that area nicer for local traffic." Davey adds, "Smith Rock Way will also get improved. It will have a little wider travel lanes, and it will have bike lanes and sidewalks, as well." Work on the $30 million project should begin in Spring and finish by the end of 2025.
ODOT will discuss the design, detours and schedule at 5 p.m. Monday at Terrebonne Community School. Another open house is Wednesday at 5 p.m., at the Crooked River Ranch Administration Building. Click HERE for more information on the meetings and project.