Fisher Road and Highway 26 in Buxton on April 23, 2021. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Oregon Department of Transportation published an online open house featuring the state agency’s construction plans for Oregon in 2022. A number of projects will be in the region, including Banks, Buxton, Manning and beyond. 

The online open house can be viewed until February 1, 2022. 

Banks

Several hundred feet north of Banks city limits, ODOT plans to replace the Highway 47 bridge crossing West Fork Dairy Creek, according to the project’s website

“The existing bridge is currently more than 80 years old and its timber deck is in poor condition,” ODOT said. 

The project will include replacing the timber bridge with a single-span bridge, channel realignment in West Fork Dairy Creek to prevent erosion, repaving the roadway, replacing guardrail and installing new striping and traffic signs. 

The project is expected to cost the state ​$8.7 million to complete. 

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Buxton

Returning this year is a project to replace a culvert in Buxton that was originally scheduled for 2021 but postponed. 

The project to replace a failing culvert where Mendenhall Creek passes under Highway 26 near Fisher Road with a bridge was originally scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021, the Banks Post wrote in April 2021.

"We didn’t get the bids that we thought on the project. We will give it another try later this year in anticipation for construction next year," said Lou Torres, an Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson in an email to the Banks Post in April. 

When the project begins—an ODOT project website did not specify when construction would begin in 2022—crews will replace the culvert with a single-span concrete deck bridge, and reconstruct the creek bed to improve fish migration routes for native species. Mendenhall Creek empties into West Fork Dairy Creek 110 feet past the culvert, according to a 2013 report on the Tualatin River Watershed from the Tualatin River Watershed Council. 

The project is near the intersection of Fisher Road and Highway 26, just west of the Time Gas station in Buxton.

The report noted that Coho salmon were seen in the creek for at least 2.8 miles from the mouth, but that the culvert had a six inch perch creating an obstacle for fish passage into Mendenhall Creek. 

With the culvert gone, fish such as salmon and steelhead will have easier access, passing under a single-span concrete bridge. The project is expected to cost $6.6 million. 

Timber and Buxton

New curve warning signs are planned for installation in 2022 on Highway 26 from the Highway 101 and Highway 26 junction to Staley’s Junction. 

The project to replace curve warning signs on Highway 26 is part of a wider effort to update recommended speeds on ODOT’s highways to meet national standards. According to ODOT, more than 50% of the state’s curve warning signs were determined with methods in decades past that do not reflect today’s vehicle safety features, driving habits, and inconsistency in curve speed advisories. 

“Because many curves have posted speed limits that are lower than the current standards for safe speeds, drivers often do not follow them. Instead drivers travel five, ten or more miles an hour over the posted curve speed limit,” the web page for the project read. 

The total cost for the portion of curve signs in Columbia, Clatsop, and Washington Counties on Highways 26 and 30 will cost  $1,809,509, with funding coming from the All Roads Transportation Safety (ARTS) Program.

During construction, ODOT warned that lane closures, flaggers, and delays of up to 20 minutes could be expected in work zones.

Manning and Mountaindale

Paving will continue in the region on Highway 26, stretching from Hayward Road in Manning to Mountaindale Road near Mountaindale. ODOT expects to begin in early spring. 

ODOT noted that the road surface, used by locals, tourists, and freight, is in poor condition, and said the $4.1 million project will include repaving the highway, including the Highway 47 ramps and applying permanent striping. Two bridge surfaces will be replaced, with plans to place waterproof membranes underneath the asphalt to protect the bridge. 

During work hours Sunday night to Friday morning from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., delays of up to 20 minutes are to be expected, ODOT said. 

Lane closures will be controlled by flaggers, and some adjacent roadways may have lane closures. Detours will be in place during the paving of the entrance and exit ramps of Highway 26 and Highway 47. 

Other road work and closures from the state and county can be found on Tripcheck.com and wc-roads.com, respectively.