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La Pine

ODOT seeks public input on Wickiup Junction draft safety improvements plan


Possible projects top $35 million; stalled rail overcrossing still seen as long-term solution

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Highway planners with the Oregon Department of Transportation, the city of La Pine and Deschutes County want to improve conditions for drivers, travelers, big rigs and everyone who walks or rolls along U.S. Highway 97 at Wickiup Junction, north of La Pine.

Highway 97 is central to life in area, but it’s challenging to safely cross the highway, ODOT said in Monday's announcement of a draft "refinement plan" and online site for its review.

ODOT said it reached out to the public in 2020 and heard many ideas for improvements. The feedback it gathered, along with a technical highway analysis, helped to create a draft plan to make the area safer and easier to navigate.

The plan focuses in detail on the intersections within the Wickiup Junction area for safe access to and from Highway 97, particularly at the at-grade crossing of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line.

The plan, called a Refinement Plan, is now available for public review and comment at a virtual open house at

Visitors to the website can review the plan and use an interactive map to see the proposed improvements and provide feedback on the options. ODOT encourages people to comment on the plan prior to its adoption by the La Pine City Council, due to occur later this spring. 

The online open house runs through April 16.

The draft plan's list of key projects, totaling $35 million, includes a realignment of Burgess Road and intersection changes, as well as new north-south and east-west collectors, a multi-use path and other changes.

Longer-term, ODOT noted that soil conditions halted construction of a Highway 97 railroad overcrossing in 2017, but that "ultimately, completion of this overcrossing represents the long-term vision for US 97 in the Wickiup area."

Project Background — On Video

Click on this overview video to see why the Wickiup Junction project is needed and what alternatives are being explored by ODOT and the City of La Pine.

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    1. They are making the EXACT same mistakes they made in the bend north corridor planning, pretending for years that adding traffic lights and reducing speeds on the existing roadway will somehow fix things, while they build a secret bypass miles out of the way

      when they and everyone else knows that the best way to provide vehicle and pedestrian safety and easy crossings and efficiency for the main hwy, is just to build a normal interchange where all forms of traffic can cross and access 97 equally
      However making things easy for everyone goes against certain folks desire to punish vehicle drivers, and so this project goes out of its way to nonsensically burden the hwy users with slowdowns and lights, again just like cooley- odot spent a decade telling us they wouldnt build an exit there and wanted a long complex bypass there too, yet in the end admit a normal cooley interchange with the existing hwy would cost the same and be just as safe and was what everyone wanted anyways (and what we got)

      How long will it take odot to admit everyone just simply wants a normal overpass for the tracks that connects burgess and rosland and a normal 4 way exit for 97 and a dang sidewalk???? 35 mil is almost the exact cost for that standard style project, but instead they want to rebuild numerous side streets and add numerous signals and pretend it will keep things moving when we all know it wont 🤢

  1. What a waste of time. This entire project has been an utter failure and waste of taxpayer money. What are they doing about the soil? How has this been addressed? This can not even be started without amending that issue, and I would also hope they go after those who failed this in the first place. How about some accountability for this corrupt state faction? Millions of our money wasted, and years lost due to incompetence.

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