Ski season is upon us!
Torrential rains have interfered with wrap-up road work on US 26 on Mount Hood, necessitating one more day of delays, on Monday, November 10.
Workers from Salem-based K & E Excavating blasted dynamite and removed about a half million cubic yards of rock and soil this summer to widen US 26 and lessen the risk of rockfalls between Rhododendron and Skibowl. It was the first phase of the Mt. Hood Safety Project.
The final stage of the 2014 work involves pavement repairs and the re-striping of Hwy. 26, so expect delays of up to 20 minutes between 7 am and 7 pm until the work is complete. K&E had planned to finish the work by Friday, Oct. 24, but wet weather washed out that plan, causing further inconvenience for travelers, after a long summer of delays.
Workers found one dry day to pave but they need another dry day to paint the road stripes. The latest plan is to wrap up the striping work Monday, November 10, causing more delays for Mount Hood travelers—though at least these delays won't come on a busy weekend.
A statement from the Oregon Department of Transportation explained, "Winter weather conditions create a dangerous situation for construction and travelers in work zones. It is important to restripe U.S. 26 prior to the arrival of winter weather. Therefore, striping must take place on the first dry day, which happens to fall on a Saturday. Please use patience and caution when traveling through this area during the re-striping work."
In case you are wondering what it looks like when highway crews blast a mountain highway to widen it and stabilize the slope, here is a video from ODOT:
K&E Excavating started work on the 2.5-year, $25 million US 26 Mt. Hood Safety Project in June, and they made a lot of progress over the summer. They also caused a lot of delays for Mount Hood travelers — and made a lot of noise in the vicinity of Silent Rock.
Apparently the gods of Silent Rock are willing to forgive repeated explosions of dynamite on Mount Hood. Or are they?
Work on US 26 will continue from April 1 through October 31 in 2015 and 2016, with extensive paving in 2015 and a new 1.6-mile concrete median barrier scheduled to be built on Hwy 26 west of Skibowl in 2016. The current schedule calls for the project to be completed by the end of October in 2016.
To get the latest on the goals and progress of this $25 million safety project — and details on how it will affect your travel plans — bookmark ODOT's website us26mthoodsafetyopenhouse.org.