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Sisters looks at road upgrades for visitors, residents


A technical advisory committee looking at Sisters’ future transportation needs met with city staff, ODOT and others Tuesday night to discuss what type of issues will be addressed, and how.

It’s part of the city’s project to update its Transportation System Plan, which is a long-range strategy addressing car, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The new roundabout at Barclay Drive and Highway 20 is part of that plan.

“Safety is the biggest concern for us, and roundabouts have proven themselves to be the safest intersection tool out there,” said Sisters Public Works Director Paul Bertagna.

The committee discussed three areas that could use refinements: Barclay Drive, the intersection of Locust Street and Highway 20, and where highways 126 and 20 merge and head into Sisters.

According to senior engineer, Matt Kittelson of the consulting firm Kittelson & Associates, the intersection at Locust and Highway 20 is the top priority and the first problem that will be addressed. A roundabout could be placed there.

“People have a hard time just getting through the intersection, and there can be some risky maneuvers that happen,” Kettelson said. “The real priority there is, how do we get people through? But also, how do we get people through safely?”

Even though the area where highways 126 and 20 merge is a busier area, it’s more of a long-term development for the town. Drivers miss access points to local businesses, forcing them to drive a long way down the highway just to turn around.

“The intent on that side of town is to try and figure out how to make circulation better for the access points, and also the highways,” Kittelson said.

The city hopes semi-trucks will utilize alternate routes like Barclay Drive if the road is widened and other updates make it more accessible. With that comes the reality of also adding multi-use roads for bikes and people.

“The through traffic on the system can get around the downtown, and we can leave the downtown more towards a pedestrian environment,” Bertagna said.

The committee will hold a public open house some time before the end of November and eventually bring more details before the planning commission and city council.

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