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Highway 97 Changes Coming

My daily commute takes me up and down U.S. Highway 97 between Bend and Sunriver. Probably the most dangerous stretch of this popular highway (referred to those who drive it as "I-97"), it's especially nasty this time of year. The worst part of it is the narrow little stretch of highway south of Lava Butte, where it narrows down to two lanes (from four) and the highway shoulder narrow significantly. It's a very dangerous stretch of road, especially this time of year where the heavily shaded road gets more ice and snow than most areas.

And then once I make it through that section just past Lava Butte, the area where you turn off to go to Sunriver is equally as dangerous. Sunriver, especially this time of year, is a very popular resort destination, so there's a heavy amount of traffic that goes on and off Hwy. 97 at that intersection. Prior to the curbs being installed on the turn, people were regularly exiting the highway too fast (they still do), sliding and losing control, and clobbering cars waiting to get onto the highway. And trying to get on the highway from Sunriver there is a nightmare I face every day, too.

They've been talking for years about how they're going to fix that intersection, and it's finally becoming a little closer to reality. It's been taking a long time because of all the government entities that are involved in the decision, complicated by the fact that the intersection is surround by National Forest and National Monument land.

But considering how many accidents that stretch of highway has had recently, the improvements they're doing to that area will not come soon enough.

Related story from the Bulletin.

Posted by Jake on 12/22/04 @ 02:20 PM
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