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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.

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Alec Nolan

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


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