State DOT News

Third lane for eastbound trucks and other improvements coming to I-84 at Ladd Canyon

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Third lane for eastbound trucks and other improvements coming to I-84 at Ladd Canyon

More information: Tom Strandberg  541-963-1330, thomas.m.strandberg@odot.state.or.us

Motorists will be getting a safer drive in the Ladd Canyon area, as ODOT and our partners make improvements along Interstate 84 seven miles east of La Grande over the next two years. Construction work on the $30 million Ladd Canyon Freight Improvement Project started this week. Travelers can expect shoulder and occasional lane closures over the next several weeks, with longer term lane closures, bicycle and pedestrian detours, and daytime restrictions at the Exit 270 westbound on ramp from Ladd Canyon Road starting later this spring.

The project includes replacing the overpass bridge at Exit 270 with a box culvert, widening the eastbound freeway to construct a third lane for trucks ascending the hill, and upgrading pavement between La Grande and Ladd Canyon. Stream work and culvert upgrades for Brush and Ladd creeks will also be constructed to improve fish passage along these waterways. Completed by fall 2020, the project will create a safer, smoother, more efficient freeway and help reduce challenges that result from slow moving commercial vehicles, slick roads and crashes.

“Replacing the bridge with a concrete box culvert will accommodate widening the freeway for the extra eastbound truck lane,” said ODOT Assistant Project Manager Ty Burns. “It will also reduce the accumulation of ice that currently plagues the overpass structure by providing an insulating layer of earth between the box culvert and freeway surface above it.”

Restricted freeway access from Ladd Canyon Road
During the Exit 270 bridge replacement work scheduled to occur between April 1 and October 31, access to the westbound on ramp from Ladd Canyon Road will be restricted during daytime. The westbound freeway on-ramp ramp will be closed from 7 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Travelers are advised to use alternate routes to access the freeway from Ladd Canyon Road during the ramp closure times. Emergency vehicles will be accommodated around the closures, as needed.

When completed, the new box culvert will serve as a tunnel for motorists on Ladd Canyon Road to cross under I-84 and access the westbound Exit 270 on-ramp.

I-84 closed to bicycles and pedestrians through the Ladd Canyon area
To accommodate construction, the center freeway barrier will be moved to create a one-lane westbound for downhill travel and a two-lane eastbound for uphill traffic, with no room for shoulders. Additional concrete barriers will separate construction work space from the eastbound lanes. Because there will be no functional shoulders during this time, both eastbound and westbound freeways will be closed to bicyclists and pedestrians through Ladd Canyon, between Exit 270 and Exit 273. The bicycle/pedestrian restrictions could begin in early March and will continue through 2019 and 2020 construction seasons. Signs will be posted to advise of the restrictions.  

Bicyclists and pedestrians can ride the local transit bus (www.neotransit.org) Monday through Friday between La Grande and North Powder, or arrange other accommodations. Bike riders may also choose to ride the bicycle detour route that runs from La Grande at Exit 265 to Union via OR 203, then from Union to North Powder via OR 237. This detour route connects to I-84 in North Powder at Exit 285 and is about 12 miles longer than the freeway. Transit bus riders should call Northeast Oregon Transit at 541-523-6591 to confirm bus schedules, fees, bike storage space availability, etc. prior to using their service. The transit bus does not run on weekend.

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