Temporary Hold Placed on Wickiup Junction Overpass Project
By Andrea Hine, Contributing Writer
The good news: construction of the Wickiup Junction Overcrossing is about 50 percent completed. This $17 million project will provide a bridge for vehicles to cross over railroad tracks at the Wickiup Junction intersection north of La Pine. Presently, the at-grade railway/highway crossing is the only one on US 97 in the entire state – creating an “extremely unsafe situation” for the 10,000 vehicles that pass over each day.
A not-as-welcome announcement: ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) is temporarily halting further work due to “settlement within the embankments adjacent to the new structure.” [An embankment is made of compacted soil (typically clay or rock-based) to provide adequate support to the formation and a long-term level surface with stability.]
According to Peter Murphy, Public Information Officer, “ODOT will perform site investigations and review geotechnical data to help determine potential causes of the settlement, and evaluate options to mitigate it. This preliminary investigation is slated for completion by June 1, at which time we’ll determine our next steps.”
Murphy promised that “more details will be released when more is known.”