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ODOT conducts first in series of blasting operations to clear new Highway 97 path on Bend’s north end

Connect Central Oregon

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – U.S. Highway 97 was shut on Bend’s north end for a brief period Sunday morning for the first in a series of blasting operations to clear rock and make way for the highway’s new path, east of its current location.

Area residents and businesses had been notified of the planned highway closure, expected to be between 7-8 minutes and no more than 15 minutes, between  7 and 8 a.m. Sunday Similar blasting is planned for five successive Sundays through April 21, with one on April 28 if needed. It took place east of the highway, beside the northbound onramp from Empire Avenue.

“Sounds like it all went according to plan and didn’t have a big impact on traffic,” Oregon Department of Transportation Region 4 Public Information Officer Kacey Davey said.

Construction Manager Zach Davis recently told the Boyd Acres Neighborhood Association that some “very hard rock” that needed to be cleared from the route prompted the blasting plans for the new Highway 97 travel lanes that head off to the northeast from that area.

Blasting takes place Sunday morning to clear rock from new Hwy. 97 route on Bend's north end (Courtesy Central Oregon Connect)

Meanwhile, to the north, a planned 10-day closure of Cooley Road just east of Highway 97 ended Saturday morning, a day earlier than expected, after crews completed hanging the girders for the new highway overpass of Cooley Road and rebuilding that stretch of roadway.

Shifting through Highway 97 traffic to the east will turn the current stretch into a northern, Business 97 extension of Third Street past Cascade Village Shopping Center and other retail businesses in the area. ODOT's and contractors' goal is to complete the two-year project by the end of the year.

For maps and other background on the $175 million Bend North Corridor (Highways 20 and 97) Project, visit this web page.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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Barney Lerten

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