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McKenzie Highway is being repaved from Sisters to the Summit

A map showing highways crossing the Oregon Cascades
McKenzie Highway is also known as Oregon 242. The seasonal road connects Sisters with Oregon 126.

A popular seasonal byway that goes over McKenzie Pass west of Sisters is getting repaved.

Work is now underway on the road in Sisters. Then, weather depending, crews will start to repave Highway 242 up to the summit at Dee Wright Observatory.

Looking out fromt the Dee Wright Observatory
Looking out fromt the Dee Wright Observatory

The scenic byway is closed seasonally and not maintained during winter.

Kasey Davey is a public information officer with the Oregon Department of Transportation. She said the agency really wants people to respect and observe the closure.

“This year, that’s going to be extra important because before the road is open to everyone, we’re going to have crews actually up there paving,” she said. “So there’s going to be heavy equipment present. Our crews will be up there so there won't be any way for folks to even get through as that’s paved before it’s open.”

The project is funded by a Federal Lands Access Program Grant.

Davey said this kind of federal grant is critical for low-traffic volume roads like Highway 242, which don’t have funding for regular maintenance.

ODOT hopes to have the repaving project done by the regular reopening date for the highway in late June.

Highway 242 is closed annually in November and reopened in late June. The latest date Highway 242 was reopened to traffic was August 16th, 2008. The earliest reopening date was March 25, 1932.


Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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