BEND, OR -- The Oregon Department of Transportation is gearing up for winter driving season, while still working on various construction improvements around Central Oregon. Some of those projects will pause for the holiday, but ODOT public information officer Kacey Davey says drivers should still plan ahead, “The best thing you can do before you even leave home is to go to tripcheck.com and see what the conditions are like for the route that you are going. So, you can see cameras that will show if there is snow on the road. It’s a really good tool to use before you even leave the house.”
It’s also the first busy weekend for ODOT's new safety equipment on Highway 97 between Bend and LaPine, “We call them variable speed limit signs, and those speed limit signs are actually linked to a bunch of weather stations. And so when there is bad weather the speed limit through that section of highway will actually lower” said Davey.
Several projects in Bend and Tumalo are in full swing and could impact holiday travelers, “The big one is 3rd street improvements around Mervin Samples and Bend River Mall. New signals are going up; a new sidewalk. And then our other project is near Tumalo on highway 20 where we’re putting in a couple roundabouts,” says Davey who adds that there are reduced speeds and lane closures in those areas.
She says construction crews will pause for next week, “No more work is going to be done once Thanksgiving hits, around Wednesday of Thanksgiving. And the 3rd street one is going to completely picked up for the holiday weekend for all the folks that are going to be coming and going.”
ODOT also recommends making sure your vehicle is properly equipped before traveling in winter conditions.