Our entire region is prone to landslides, and the chances are higher in the rainy coastal areas.  Case in point: Last Chance Grade, on US 101 in Del Norte County. 

The road sits on an active landslide, and road crews are constantly working to shore it up and keep it from collapsing. 

Plans are in the works to move the road to a safer area, but money and environmental laws are keeping the progress slow. 

Another Chance To Fix Last Chance Grade

Mar 18, 2016

Driving on coastal roads in our region can be spectacular at times... and utterly frustrating at others. 

The land that leads down to the ocean can be slide-prone and unstable, leading to closures and short-term repairs. 

The Last Chance Grade on US 101 in Del Norte County is a particular headache for CalTrans, and now the agency is collecting public input on a range of alternatives to re-route the road. 

The Disrepair Of Oregon's Bridges

Oct 9, 2015

The title of the latest report on the state of Oregon's highway bridges does not induce panic. 

But it does include a cautionary phrase: "we've got work to do." 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) delivers the report annually. 

The Dawn Of OReGO And Pay-By-Mile

Jul 14, 2015
Oregon Department of Transportation

Welcome to the age of what comes AFTER gasoline taxes.

Fuel taxes pay for road repair and maintenance... or did. 

The advent of hybrid and straight-electric vehicles reduces per-capita fuel consumption, and road funds with it.   

Oregon is just now rolling out OReGO, its voluntary program for drivers to pay road taxes by miles traveled. 

OreGO's Michelle Godfrey explains how the program works, and what is required of participants.

Diversity On The Road Ahead

Dec 16, 2014

The work doesn't change much over time, but the workers do. 

The highway signs that once said "men working" are now non-gender specific. 

And with good reason… more women now work on road construction crews. 

In fact, the Institute for Women's Policy Research just recognized Oregon and Maryland for their state laws that push for more women and minorities on the crews. 

Commenting On Transportation Safety

Dec 2, 2014
Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Next time you drive through a construction zone, think about how long it takes to move a project from conception to completion. 

And while you're at it, think about the safety considerations that go into the mix. 

ODOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation, has a safety action plan to complement its overall transportation plan. 

And ODOT is taking input on the safety plan at a series of meetings around the state. 

Volunteers Needed For Road-Use Charge Study

Nov 4, 2014
Ken Lund

Not only do modern cars burn less gasoline, people just drive a little less in Oregon these days. 

Which means less need for new roads, but also less gas tax money to maintain existing roads. 

That's why the Oregon Legislature authorized a large (5000 people) pilot project to see how road usage charges--like per-mile charges--would do in replacing gas taxes. 

Revamping Rogue Valley Highways 99 & 140

Jul 14, 2014
Geoffrey Riley/JPR

The roads that are fine for today's traffic could become clogged if no plans are made for future traffic. 

Fortunately, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is looking down the road (so to speak) a bit. 

Two of the main highways in the Rogue Valley, Oregon 140 and Oregon 99, are both due for new "corridor plans." 

All four lanes of Interstate Five between Medford and Ashland are back in service, after three weeks of one-lane-in-each-direction.

A construction project related to the revamping of the Phoenix interchange (exit 24) required the placement of a large-diameter drain pipe under the freeway.  And that required the closing of a lane in each direction, starting in late April.  

Clinton Steeds via Wikipedia Commons

Recently, an independent review of California’s transportation department Caltrans concluded the agency is stuck in the past. Some activists say several Caltrans projects along the North Coast are examples of the need for reform.

The Effects Of Salting Oregon Roads

Dec 20, 2013
Geoffrey Riley/JPR

What's good for driving may not necessarily be good for the vehicle, or the environment.

Salt is commonly used to help road crews get rid of snow and ice in colder climates, but Oregon began using it in recent years, in places like the frequently snowbound Siskiyou Summit. 

Graham Hughes/Wild California

The California Department of Transportation--CalTrans--plans to widen portions of highways 197 and 199 in the Smith River Canyon in Del Norte County.

And them's fighting words for environmental groups, which are challenging the widening projects for their potential impacts on the Smith, one of the country's wild and scenic rivers.

On The Road: Rethinking Rest Areas

Sep 24, 2013
Ken Lund

"Rest Area 6 Miles Ahead" is a welcome sign to many a traveler in need of a visit to the facilities. 

And after a quick turnaround, you're on the road again.  But can rest areas do more and be more to travelers?   The semi-independent state agency Oregon Travel Experience is betting on a "Yes".  OTE spent the summer assessing the offerings at the state's traveler rest areas and the other amenities it manages, with an eye toward future improvements.