Highway 20 Realignment Construction Begins Again This Summer

Apr 28, 2014

Construction is set to begin again on a long-drawn-out road straightening project in the Coast Range.  The Oregon Department of Transportation has hired a contractor to work on the next phase of the US 20 project in Lincoln County near Eddyville.  Construction is expected to resume in May.

New US 20 alignment (in yellow) through the Coast Range near Eddyville.
Credit Oregon Department of Transportation

The original contractor hired by ODOT in 2005 to shorten and straighten the highway from Newport to Corvallis discovered landslides along the new track of the road.  After the price tag rose and efforts to mitigate the slides were unsuccessful, ODOT terminated the contract in 2012.  Since then, they’ve meted out pieces of the work.  

Now Scarsella Brothers of Kent, Washington will start construction on the final 1.7 miles of the realignment.  ODOT spokesman Rick Little says the new design scraps several bridges that would be susceptible to landslides.

Little: “What we’re going to do is lower the roadway level of where it would have been with a bridge.  But it’s still going to be much higher that what the existing ground level is.  We’re going to be filling in that area – if you can imagine filling in an area underneath the bridge, and putting the roadway on top of that fill. That’s the way we’re going to be building over these drainages.”

This summer’s construction phase will also include installation of about 20 miles of horizontal drains, designed to reduce landslide risk.

Little says there will actually be less project-related construction traffic on Highway 20 this summer than there was last year.  The realignment is expected to be completed in 2016.