LAKESIDE -- Drivers can expect delays of up to 20 minutes for a two culvert project by Tugman State Park starting this week.
The $3.6 million effort is specifically at milepost 221.1 at Highway 101 and Wildwood Drive.
Dan Latham of the Oregon Department of Transportation said the project will replace two culverts that carry water underneath the highway. Drivers should watch for shoulder work and intermittent lane closures and flaggers will provide traffic control as needed.
According to information from the ODOT construction report, "starting the week of March 5, U.S. 101 will be reduced to one lane and will be under 24-hour flagging while a temporary detour bridge is constructed."
The main contractor is Delta Construction. Lane closure will be in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a month.
In a press release, Latham wrote that the lane closures will allow that firm "to build a two-lane detour bridge over Clear Creek."
"In early April, traffic will be shifted onto the detour bridge, with one lane in each direction until Labor Day," he wrote. "This will give the contractor five months to dig down and replace the culvert under U.S. 101. In September, when traffic is shifted back onto the permanent alignment, U.S. 101 will again be limited to a single lane with flaggers as workers remove the detour bridge. All work is scheduled to be completed in early fall."
In an email to the Umpqua Post Latham emphasized that on top of this there's also the culvert project on Highway 38, "which means folks traveling between Coos Bay and Eugene might get stopped in multiple work zones. We really want to encourage people to give themselves extra travel time if they're making that commute."
In the email, Latham wrote that "traffic may be held as long as 20 minutes, but the way traffic flows, there could be congestion that delays people a little longer than that."
"My recommendation is people give themselves plenty of extra travel time if they’re commuting between Coos Bay and Reedsport," he wrote.
The lane closure will be about 1,000 feet long, just north of the Tugman State Park/Wildwood Drive intersection.
Latham added that "we have noticed an increase in speeding on Hwy. 38 as impatient drivers attempt to make up time."
"We understand that drivers on Hwy. 101 may be tempted to hit the gas after they get past the flaggers," Latham wrote. "We are coordinating with OSP to patrol the Hwy. 101 work zone in an effort to discourage speeding and promote safety. Speeding tickets can be very expensive, especially those issued in a work zone. So this is another reason drivers should consider giving themselves extra travel time."