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ODOT holds Terrebonne open house to discuss latest Highway 97 safety plans

(Updated: Adding video, comments from open house)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Transportation hosted an open house Wednesday evening to show residents its updated plans to improve safety through Terrebonne from Lower Bridge Way to Northwest 10th Street.

The area has been the subject of ongoing concerns due to high speeds and traffic volume on U.S. Highway 97 and the difficulty of making turns onto or from Lower Bridge Way, which is a primary access point for residents of Crooked River Ranch.

Attendees at Terrebonne Community School were able to move from station to station, where they could review exhibits highlighting certain project components.

ODOT's Region 4 Manager, Gary Farnsworth says the open house was an effort to address questions and concerns from residents to see if this proposed alternative is best.

"The goal is about safety," Farnsworth said. "And safety not just for cars and auto trucks, but also for pedestrians, cyclists and other folks that use the corridor."

The plan includes a cross section of U.S. 97 over Lower Bridge Way, northbound and southbound on- and off-ramps, and an H Street extension to facilitate future improvements.

Some in attendance, like Redmond's Diona Browning, say something needs to be done to improve safety.

"I mean, have you ever tried to get out of Crooked River Ranch, particularly northbound? It's deadly," Browning said. "And southbound, I've sat there for 15 minutes or more. It's ridiculous."

And others, like Crooked River Ranch's Jan Cook, says she believes ODOT is taking a step in the right direction, but she does have concerns.

"I still have some concern about what they're going to do when that H Street extension is to facilitate further improvements," Cook said. "I'm not sure what they're talking about there."

And one couple told NewsChannel 21 off-camera that they're concerned about new construction obstructing views from their home.

Farnsworth says he understands it's hard to get everyone to agree on a plan, but he hopes community feedback helps the process.

"It's one thing for someone to feel like they've got the right solution. It's another thing for all of us to feel like we've got the right solution, and that's super-important," Farnsworth said. "That's why we're here."

Community feedback will be shared with both Jefferson and Deschutes counties to confirm a final project scope by this September.

The estimated cost of the project is $28,8 million, with construction planned for the fall of 2023.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



  1. Next on the list is getting hwy 97 out of Redmond from the intersection with Evergreen/126 to yew ave. at least. But that would just be a boondoggle bandage.I still believe taking 97 east from the north base of Cinder Butte east to the eastern side of the airport and joining up a mile or so south of the current edge of town.

  2. We need a separate interstate. That will help filter heavy traffic elsewhere. The stretch from Redmond to the north is horrible and unsafe! Trying to change things in Terrebonne will not prevent the increasing fatalities. I had two vehicles coming at me head on to get around a slow driver. I ended up over the white line to avoid an accident. Passing lanes are not placed in safe passing zones and the lanes end abruptly when there are sections of additional lanes. If you commute this section, you know exactly what I’m talking about. To top it off, there is rarely police presence. After the fair, I witnessed countless drivers swerving and being unsafe. Not a cop the entire way from Madras to Redmond.

  3. It’s called limited access. Either put the road underground or build a structure over it to contain the noise and particulate from tires and brakes. Highway 97 will eventually ruin Terrebonne just like Highway 20 is trying to ruin Bend. Pedestrians and bicycles don’t work on the same scale as cars and if you put safe crossing points more than 300’ apart people will cease to walk or bike. Bend has accomplished that in old Bend which realtors now call midtown. Then they wonder why there’s no parking.

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