State officials plan to replace Ochoco Creek Bridge

Project cost to be determined after bids come in
Replacement of the aging Ochoco Creek Bridge is scheduled to begin sometime early this summer, and should not disrupt access to Third Street businesses, according to Pat Cimmiyotti, project manager with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
   However, the project will temporarily close the section of Knowledge Street from First Street to Third Street. To assure that children will be able to safely get to Crook County Middle School, a temporary cross walk will be installed across Third Street at Juniper Street.
   The bridge itself will not completely close and traffic will not be re-routed, Cimmiyotti said. Construction will be done in two stages.
   "The first stage would be to move the traffic to the center and then construct the outside. The second stage would be to move the traffic to the outside and construct the center," he said.
   One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained.
   According to Peter Murphy, ODOT public affairs specialist, the bridge project is part of the Oregon Transportation Investment Act program, a 10-year, $3 billion program.
   "The purpose of the program is to improve the infrastructure - highways and bridges - to make Oregon competitive and get our commodities to market," Murphy said. "ODOT is working to replace our aging bridges in a way that protects public safety, responds to citizen concerns and minimizes impacts to businesses and communities."
   Jennifer Warren, owner of the Executive Inn in Prineville, expressed some concern about access to her business.
   "It's in the middle of June, which is our busy season. It's kind of a bummer, but we'll have to wait and see what happens, and if that's exactly when they're going to start," she said. "We don't exactly know how they're going to re-route people. I don't think they can legally shut our access down, but we're not sure yet."
   The cost of the bridge is not known yet because contractors will be submitting bids for the project on Feb. 28. After a bid is awarded, construction should begin early in the summer.
   It is estimated that the bridge will take around 90 days to build, plus an additional 35 days to finish the sidewalks.
   When complete, the new bridge will feature one lane in each direction, a center turn lane and sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. It will also have a split-stone face, matching the style of other new bridges in Prineville, such as the Crooked River Bridge, according to an ODOT press release.