FLORENCE, Ore. (AP) A 17-mi. (27 km) stretch of Highway 101 north of Florence is in such bad shape the state plans to undertake a major rebuild that will cost nearly $10 million.
The pavement is deeply cracked in many places, plus in spots the subsurface gravel base is likely eroded, requiring excavation and complete rebuild in those locations, said Rick Little, a spokesman of the Oregon Department of Transportation.
ODOT rates the condition of the entire stretch as poor.
As part of the work, the project will widen curves along the stretch, Little said. That will involve excavating the curves, laying in new gravel and then laying on pavement, he said.
The work began in August and will be carried out this summer and next, causing traffic delays of up to 20 minutes. Traffic will be restricted to a single lane, and be controlled by flaggers and pilot cars.
Little said modern trucks and RVs are too long for the narrow, winding highway, so on curves the vehicles track onto the shoulders.
“This highway was designed back in the 1930s, if not before. This is an old highway. The geometry of those curves in a lot of cases is not suitable for modern-length cargo loads,’’ he said.
The widened curves with new, wider shoulders and better sight lines should help not only cars and trucks, but also bicyclists, Little said.
ODOT is eager to get the work done. To try to extend the roadway’s life, the state several years ago put temporary asphalt paving over the wheel ruts that were worn into the road along that stretch, Little said.
The state is doing the repair work in two phases. This year, the work will extend from Sutton Lake just north of Florence to the vicinity of the Sea Lion Caves.
Next summer, crews will complete the rest of the stretch, up to just south of Yachats.
Centerline rumble strips will be installed throughout the 17-mi. length to reduce the chance of crossover accidents.
Single-lane restrictions will occur during daytime and nighttime construction, and may occur on weekends.
Rocky Mountain Construction LLC of Klamath Falls was awarded the low-bid contract of $9.6 million.
Next year, also, an as-yet-unselected contractor will carry out roughly $3 million in repair work to the long, low historic retaining wall that runs on the west side of Highway 101 north of the Sea Lion Caves.
The wall was built in 1931 under the federal Works Progress Administration. Over time, the wall has lost its structural integrity in several places and does not meet current standards as a safety barrier or retaining wall, ODOT said.
The project will rebuild most sections of the wall with rock; other sections will be rebuilt of concrete with rock facing. The work will add shoulder width next to the wall, and also add interpretive signing, the agency said.
ODOT is refining details of the project before putting it out to bid, Little said
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