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ODOT, Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization working together on new plans to improve busy Bend roads

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- "Perfect" roads exist, but only when first built.

That's why busy roads, especially ones like Reed Market Road and US Highway 20, are constantly being upgraded. Despite projects introduced, completed and some yet to break ground through the US 97 Bend Parkway Plan and the Bend Transportation System Plan, more could be on the way.

“A lot of roads are perfect at the time they are opened," ODOT planner Rick Williams said Wednesday. "Bend has grown so quickly that we always have to make adjustments to roadways.”

ODOT and Bend MPO are in the process of hiring a transportation research engineer firm to analyze and look for improvements along US Highway 20 and Reed Market Rd.

The US 20 Refinement Plan could add projects to the parkway plan, while the Reed Market Road Operations and Safety Study could add improvements to one of Bend's busiest roads.

Some improvements along Reed Market could modify access to businesses, install a center median to reduce turning in some areas and add stand-alone turn lanes at the Reed Market-Third Street intersection.

“You could have both directions of travel happening together at the same time," Williams said, in reference to improvements at the Reed Market-Third Street intersection. "Right now, it’s east traffic gets to go, then west traffic gets to go. We want to improve the queuing, so traffic doesn’t have to wait as long.” 

Highway 20 near Pilot Butte is a little more unique. On one part of the highway, there are small businesses with driveways, then Pilot Butte, with apartments nearby -- and the further east you go, the more growth you see. 

"State highways in urban areas are always a balancing act," Williams said. "Highway 20 likely started out as a two-lane city street and was taken over by ODOT at some point and then widened to four and five lanes. The dynamic of the neighborhoods change over time."

Specific improvements in each plan and study are still about a year away. The US 20 Refinement Plan's timeline is around 12 to 15 months, while the Reed Market Road Operations and Safety Study timeline is eight months. Then transportation officials will get together to discuss which project is best for each area.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics
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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

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