Banks, Salem, Transportation

Bill would require ODOT study, give repair recommendations for Highway 6

A bill introduced in the Oregon House of Representatives in advance of the upcoming short session beginning Feb. 1 would direct the Oregon Department of Transportation to study the Wilson River Highway (signed as Highway 6) and provide an assessment of the highway’s condition, deficiencies, and estimates to repair it.

The highway stretches from the Banks area through Gales Creek and the Tillamook State Forest to its terminus at Highway 101 in Tillamook.

In 2021, a string of high-profile traffic crashes resulted in numerous fatalities and public outcry over the safety of the highway. Local residents on both sides of the coast range have expressed dismay at the deaths that have occurred on the highway, which, when they occur, usually result in hours-long closures of the route linking Tillamook and Washington Counties and the wider Portland Metro area to the Oregon Coast. 

House Bill 4053, sponsored by State Rep. Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook), would direct the state’s Department of Transportation to study the highway, and prepare a report including the current condition of the highway, information on deficiencies on the highway, department recommendations to improve the highway’s condition to a state of good repair, a cost estimate for the improvements, and any other pertinent information. 

If the bill passed, the report would be delivered to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation no later than September 15, 2023.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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