Department of Transportation Travel Advisory

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway > Alerts > Department of Transportation Travel Advisory

Travelers throughout Oregon should be aware that summer is not only a busy time for vacationers, it is also the season when weather permits the Oregon Department of Transportation to repair and otherwise improve our highways. Below is information about such a project on Interstate 84 near La Grande.

LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is reminding travelers to plan ahead and be prepared for highway work zones as the summer construction season gears up. Motorists should watch for construction crews and equipment and be prepared to slow down and pay extra attention when they see orange cones, flaggers and/or construction signs. Distracted drivers are a primary cause of work zone crashes. A listing of major state highway projects in the eastern Oregon area and anticipated traffic impacts is posted on the ODOT Region 5 website at

One project that may impact some byway country travelers is just west of La Grande on Interstate 84. Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) contractor Oregon Mainline shifted westbound traffic to the eastbound freeway and closed two freeway ramps in mid-April to accommodate the multi-year highway improvement project between the Kamela Interchange at Exit 246 and the Second Street undercrossing in La Grande, near mile post 260. Most of the traffic impacts are between Hilgard State Park near mile post 252 and Exit 261 in La Grande where the freeway is being resurfaced with concrete in the slow lane and new asphalt in the fast lane.

On this section, travelers can expect traffic pattern changes, reduced speeds, narrow lanes with no shoulders, plus single lane eastbound and westbound traffic separated by concrete barrier. The westbound Exit 259 on-ramp at the west end of La Grande will be closed through the 2014 construction season. The westbound on-ramp at Exit 256 (west of Perry) will also be closed for about three months starting Monday.

ODOT advises that one easily avoidable traffic mishap involves running out of fuel and becoming stranded in a work zone that has no shoulder space for emergency parking. This occurred three times in April along the seven-mile Interstate 84 work zone between Hilgard State Park near mile post 252 and La Grande at mile post 260. Road resurfacing has the freeway limited to one eastbound and one westbound lane separated by concrete barrier, with no shoulders. In all three cases, trucks ran out of diesel in the work zone, completely blocking traffic until fuel could be delivered. All drivers are reminded to fuel up before heading towards this and other highway construction zones.

For more information about this or other ODOT highway projects in eastern Oregon contact Public Information Officer Tom Strandberg at 541-963-1330,, or visit the ODOT website at For statewide road conditions, check

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