- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Transportation
- Published: April 17, 2015
- Last Updated: April 17, 2015
Road work on Hwy. 26 will shift into high gear Monday, April 20 and continue through to October with periods of 24-hour flagging and highway and trail closures to protect travelers from falling rocks during blasting hours.
U.S. 26 will close for up to an hour between Kiwanis Camp Road and the Mirror Lake Cures from 5:30-6:30 pm Tuesday, April 21, the first of many closures this spring and summer for the rock blasting phase of the Mt. Hood Safety Project. Nearby hiking trails will also close during blasting.
In addition, road workers will flag traffic on Hwy. 26 24 hours a day from 5 am Monday to 10 am Friday every week until May 21. That is a lot of flagging, but it should help prevent the big delays of full closure of the highway.
Flaggers will direct travelers along a short section of 26 just west of the runaway truck ramp. During the flagging periods bicyclists should consider using the travel lane as the shoulders will be narrow.
An April 17 press release from the Oregon Department of Transportation explains:
To prevent rocks from falling into the roadway, the contractor will place shipping containers between the work area along the slope and U.S. 26. The shipping containers will act as a large barrier to prevent rocks from rolling or bouncing into U.S. 26 as work on the slopes take place. Flagging is required as U.S. 26 is not wide enough to accommodate the shipping containers, two lanes of traffic and a work zone.
People in the area should not be alarmed to a loud bang that may echo through the canyon as rocks roll into the shipping containers.
ODOT and K&E Excavating are committed to keeping the traveling public safe during construction of the U.S. 26 Mt. Hood Safety Project. Although this means delays and inconveniences along U.S. 26 and nearby trails, people can still get to their favorite destination on or beyond Mt. Hood.
ODOT and K&E Excavating are improving an eight-mile stretch of Hwy. 26 between Kiwanis Camp Road and OR 35 to improve safety by:
- Paving an eight-mile section of 26 between Silent Rock and OR 35
- Cutting back the slope along a 600-foot section at Map Curve to provide a 27-foot-wide ditch for rocks to land away from the road
- Cutting back the rock slope east of the runaway truck ramp to east of the Mirror Lake trailhead
- Highway widening to install a median barrier
- Placing a concrete barrier along a 1.6 mile section between the east and westbound lanes of 26 — from just east of the runaway truck ramp to east of the Mirror Lake curves
- Building a retaining wall to reduce impacts to existing trails
- Extending the westbound passing lanes for a total of about 1,400 feet
Work is schedule from April to October in 2015 and 2016, with no work during the peak winter snow months.
For more information visit: www.US26MtHoodSafety.org