Over 800 people explored the new soon-to-open U.S. 20 alignment between Toledo and Eddyville on Saturday, using their feet and bicycles to travel the Pioneer Mountain-Eddyville Project roadway before it opens to vehicles later this month.Most of the new 5.5 mile roadway was experienced as visitors drove onto the new section to park and then walked through 2.2 miles. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) had seven locations where people could learn about the engineering challenges faced and the solutions that were developed. One of the most popular sites was the large animal crossing, a huge tunnel that goes under the highway, one of the largest of its kind in North America.
“This has been a long difficult journey, and there were times we stumbled.” said Matt Garrett, ODOT’s Director. “So as we reflect on what we have learned it is now time as we come close to completing the journey, to celebrate the benefits, and those benefits are many with regard to this investment. The connection of the valley to the mid-coast is very important for safety reasons, for economic reasons, for economic growth opportunity, and just the efficiency of moving from Point A to Point B, whether it’s personal mobility or whether it’s freight mobility.”
Leaders who championed the project from its beginnings were on hand to share their memories and share in the celebration of it being nearly open, along with community partners who have been sharing project updates and road closure information with travelers and visitors.
The new alignment of U.S. 20 is scheduled to open October 15, but could open earlier, depending on weather conditions that impact final construction.
Overnight closures will continue through the end of October at the west end curve tie-in. The closures are necessary to allow construction activities and blasting to continue directly adjacent to (and above) the existing highway. Overnight closures are not planned for construction at the west end curve next year.
The road will be closed 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., Saturday through Thursday nights. The road remains open on Fridays. Closures were cancelled for October 1 and 2 due to rain. For the latest in closure times and days, check TripCheck.com.