In a move that could be a boon for Oregon's economy and provide additional recreation opportunities, our senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, announced yesterday that the state has secured more than $14 in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The funds are to be used for highway interchanges, road widening and improving alternative transportation, like bike trails and ferries. One of the projects includes a welcome station on Bend's own Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.
“Investing in transportation infrastructure has been proven to increase job growth in the short term and be a catalyst for sustained, long-term growth,” Wyden said.
From a press release announcing the grants, here are some of the projects that will benefit from the funding:
Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, OR: Welcome Station, Construction - $1,039,040 - This project will construct a Welcome Station as a portal to public lands for over 2.5 million visitors each year and will create a multi-modal hub for alternative forms of transportation such as biking, hiking, Central Oregon bus transit and carpooling to byway sites. This project benefits the byway traveler with high quality recreation and visitor information, byway interpretation, and conservation. The Welcome Station will be located a key entry to the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway.
Westport Ferry Landing Replacement - $1,830,000 - This project will construct a new Westport Ferry Landing to accommodate a larger ferry boat that has been designed with higher capacity to carry more motorized vehicles and loaded chip or log trucks.
Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, OR: Signage and Trail Construction - $412,930 - The project will install directional and interpretive signs at 24 locations up and down the coast. The project will also construct 3.4 miles of sustainable natural surface trail from Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint to Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area, byway defining features. This project will move the pedestrians from the shoulder of the highway into a separated trail within the road right-of-way, giving the pedestrians safe travel. This project will make the Scenic Byway experience more accessible and engaging by connecting several byway amenities, increasing safety for pedestrian and motor traffic, and enhancing existing byway investments.
Division Street Corridor “Complete Street” Project, Gresham, Ore. - $832,640 - This project will construct multiuse paths and sidewalks to provide direct access to transit, extend curbs to narrow travel lanes, and construct a pedestrian crossing with a refuge island and a flashing beacon in a location that exceeds pedestrian crossing warrants and serves adjacent businesses and residents as well as two schools.
Lava Lands to Sunriver Multiuse Path - $1,877,000 – This grant will fund the construction of a multiuse path to connect the Lava Lands Visitor Center, located within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, to Benham Falls and the community of Sunriver. It will enhance the livability of Central Oregon, improve active transportation options to facilitate reduced driving and add substantially to the economic viability of the Sunriver and Bend communities.
US20: Cascade Improvements (Sisters) - $1,660,606 - This project will improve US 20 (Cascade Avenue) though the community of Sisters. Highway US 20 serves as one of the primary ways to access the Deschutes National Forest and the Willamette National Forest for the population centers to the east and west of the Cascade Mountain Range and is a designated FH. The proposed improvements include pavement preservation and reconstruction, sidewalk reconstruction, and widening, bicycle and pedestrian access and safety amenities, curb extensions, intersection capacity improvements, and streetscape features (e.g., decorative lighting, and landscaping, and other downtown architectural themes).
I-5: Kuebler Interchange Southbound Ramp Improvements - $3,625,000 - The improvements to this interchange will include building a slip ramp from eastbound Kuebler to southbound I-5, and a loop ramp for westbound traffic moving to southbound I-5. This will expand the capacity of the interchange and allow the free flow of truck and vehicular traffic on to the interstate highway.
Historic Columbia River Highway, OR: Eastern Segment Gateway Signs and Rest Area - $72,000 - This project will help define the west and east entrances of the eastern segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH). The Dalles Gateway sign will be a stone monument which will identify the beginning of the National Scenic Byway on Oregon Department of Transportation right of way adjacent to the Chenoweth Creek Bridge. Phase I of the Mosier “Hub” will include a stone monument sign identifying the beginning of the byway, and a site plan for this multi-modal rest area will be developed. This project benefits the byway traveler by providing a visual cue at the beginning and end of the east segment of the HCRH National Scenic Byway in the communities of Mosier and The Dalles.
Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: John B. Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek - $2,109,000 - The proposed project is to construct a 1.6-mile, 12-foot wide multiuse, ADA-accessible trail through the Columbia River Gorge. This project will complete an uninterrupted scenic corridor appropriate for bicyclists and pedestrians that connects the communities of Troutdale, Corbett, Warrendale, and Cascade Locks. Upon completion of this critical “missing link,” hikers and cyclists will no longer have to share the shoulder of I-84 with trucks and cars traveling at speeds often exceeding 65 miles per hour to access the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
US 26: Mill Creek – Jefferson Co. Line Safety Improvements - $ 923,000 - This project will construct passing lanes on US 26 (Warm Springs Highway) between MP 93.0 – MP 95.5 on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS) Reservation and will also construct flatter embankment slopes and wider shoulders along the highway between MP 92.75 – MP 99.03, providing recoverable slopes for errant vehicles and wider shoulders for disabled vehicles to pull off the highway.