OROVILLE – Hoping that the third time’s the charm, the Okanogan River bridge on Highway 97, just south of Oroville, will undergo some important repair work that will require closing the bridge for several weeks immediately after Labor Day weekend, according to the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT).The agency recommends travelers plan ahead and allow extra time to follow detour routes during the closure. Work was scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 6 when contractor crews working for the WSDOT will close US 97 between mileposts 330 and 331. During the closure, crews will regrade and smooth about 400 feet of the highway approaching the bridge and resurface the bridge deck.
Over time, this section of highway has deteriorated with many bumps in the pavement, says the WSDOT, adding regrading of the road will help make a smoother crossing for travelers going across the Okanogan River Bridge and nearby railroad crossing.
Northbound Detour Route
Drivers headed north on US 97 will begin following a signed detour route just south of the Okanogan River bridge:
- North on Eastside Oroville Road.
- West on Chesaw Road. Chesaw then heads southwest before turning into Cherry Street.
- South on Cherry Street to Central Avenue.
- West on Central Avenue to US 97/Main Street.
Southbound Detour Route
Drivers headed south on US 97 will begin following a signed detour route in Oroville:
- East on Central Avenue.
- North on Cherry Street to Sawtells Road.
- East on Sawtells Road to Eastside Oroville Road.
- South on Eastside Oroville Road to US 97.
For those traveling in that area during that time, WSDOT will have signs to guide traffic to detours around the closure. These detours are about three miles long in each direction and will add about 15 to 20 minutes to the trip, according to WDOT. This detour will take travelers through some narrow roads, so caution is advised, especially if driving a large vehicle, states the WSDOT in a press release.
For most of the project, US 97 will remain closed while crews repair the north side of the railroad crossing and the Okanogan River bridge. After those repairs are complete and crews begin work on the south side of the railroad crossing starts, the highway will reopen and the detour will be lifted. During the final phase of the project, there will be intermittent, flagger-controlled traffic during working hours. The project is scheduled for completion on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Elsewhere in the county, a contractor is repairing and paving the SR20 from Moon Dust Road to Aeneas Valley Road east of Tonasket. Work is scheduled to finish in mid-September.