Merkley, Wyden Announce Massive Investment in Central Oregon Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a massive, $60.4 million federal grant for a transportation project on the north side of Bend that will improve U.S. 97 and U.S. 20 highways and key local routes, while also incorporating multimodal connections like bike lanes and multi-use paths.

“This is the kind of significant investment our country needs to be making in infrastructure and jobs,” Merkley said. “By investing in infrastructure, we’re improving freight connections and neighborhood livability—that’s not just fixing roads, that’s creating jobs and improving quality of life. As I’ve traveled around the state, I’ve seen firsthand the need to rebuild and upgrade infrastructure in our communities, and I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight for this type of funding.”

“As I travel the state for my town meetings, I hear from Oregonians who want to see investments that improve the livability of their communities,” Wyden said. “You can’t have a big-league economy without big-league infrastructure. That’s exactly what this project will bring to Central Oregon—better and safer roads for all commuters and more jobs created.”

“We are very grateful for the relentless advocacy of our congressional delegation in obtaining this grant,” said ODOT Deputy Director Paul Mather. “The people and economy of Central Oregon will benefit greatly from this much-needed project, and we look forward to working with our partners at the City of Bend and Deschutes County to complete it.”

“On behalf of the Central Oregon region, I am thrilled that this project received the INFRA funding,” said Bend Mayor Sally Russell. “This project will not only help the City of Bend, but will benefit communities across Central Oregon. This would not have been possible without the efforts of the Oregon delegation, the City of Bend, Deschutes County Commissioners, ODOT, and other Central Oregon stakeholders that contributed to getting this project across the finish line.” 

The U.S. Department of Transportation grant will support the U.S. 97 North Corridor Project will improve U.S. highways 97 and 20—designated Critical Urban Freight Corridors—and local routes in Bend. Improvements include intersection configurations, ramps, auxiliary lanes, grade separations, and pedestrian and bike routes—making the corridor safer for all modes of travel. Additionally, the project will use new technology to improve freight connections; as the only major north-south freight route east of the Cascade Mountains, U.S. 97 moves on average $47.5 million of freight per day. U.S. 20 carries on average $19.8 million of freight daily.