Skip to Content

10-day Cooley Road closure, Sunday blasting near Empire Ave. expected for Bend N. Hwy. 97 Corridor Project’s next phase

(Update: adding comment and video from residents and ODOT officials)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The next phase of the Bend North Highway 97 Corridor Project will include a 10-day closure of Cooley Road just east of the highway intersection, due to start March 14, as well as some highway traffic shifts and five weekly Sunday shots of rock blasting, a project official has told residents.

A resident of Boyd Acres, Billy Scott, said, " it hasn't been a bother at all to me, noise wise, I sleep pretty heavy, but I know the other night I was up late and I could hear them running around at like 3:00 in the morning out there on Saturday night."

The Cooley Road closure is to bring in and hang large girders for the Cooley Road overpass that is a key feature of the project, eliminating that traffic light for the new Highway 97 route (though the signal will remain, in rebuilt fashion, for the Cooley-Third Street intersection), as well as rebuilding the Cooley travel lanes, Construction Manager Zach Davis told the Bend Area Neighborhood Association late last week.

Davis said, “the Cooley closure is primarily to set girders for a new bridge that goes over the top of Cooley Road. Highway 97 is going over Cooley road in that location. The drilling operation is down by empire and that's to excavate for Highway 97 that's going underneath Empire Avenue."

The closure is expected for no more 10 days and will include provisions for westbound emergency traffic to get through, he said.

The detour route will take traffic down 18th Street and Empire Avenue, Davis said. The timing is weather-dependent, such as “if it’s too snowy to get the girders over the pass,” he explained.

Boyd Acres resident, Billy Scott said "you always see people driving because there's two schools out here, actually. And if they come that way, it's going to be kind of a nightmare."

According to Bend La Pine school district, they are expecting congestion in the area, and have communicated with the traffic department and families about the impacts. In a statement they said antici

Scott also noted how current construction already impacts him, mentioning how crews were out working late into the night on Sunday, but it doesn't bother him because he is a heavier sleeper. Other residents may not feel the same.

Davis also discussed how winter conditions can effect other aspects of the project saying, "we have to go down to sub grade and it needs to be around a certain moisture content. if there's too much snow and precipitation that will create wet conditions that you can't build a road on.”

To the south, five rock blasting shots are expected in the area of the current northbound Empire Avenue onramp to the highway, one each on successive Sundays between March 24 and April 21, with an optional sixth blast on April 28 if needed, Davis said in his presentation.

In a statement, Bend La Pine School District said, "The district is anticipating congestion around Sky View Middle School and Lava ridge elementary. We are working with the traffic department a communicating with families in order to give them ample time to leave for school."

 Davis said, "we can make sure we get the proper amount of notification and safety features out there so folks know that they're coming into a at work zone that is going to be congested and and it will be a different condition than what they're normally used to seeing in terms of free flow traffic condition.  

Weather could possibly force ODOT to work at night which may again impact neighbors. Davis says it's necessary in order to finish the project in 20-24.

To excavate for the new Highway 97 travel lanes that head off to the northeast from that spot, some “very hard rock” in that area is prompting the planned blasting, Davis said.

The urban location brings the expected restrictions for safety and traffic control, with a full closure of the highway for the actual blast to take place for no more than 15 minutes, hopefully closer to 7-8 minutes.

Area residents will be notified in coming days through various means, and flaggers and traffic control will be in place around the area when that work happens.

For more maps and background on the $175 million project, visit this ODOT web page.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Author Profile Photo

Matthew Draxton

Matthew Draxton is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Matthew here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content