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Hitting the Road? What to Know Before Going, Memorial Day Starts Oregon Travel Season

SALEM — Summer travel season is coming fast and as you make your plans, there are a few things to know before you drive, ride, walk or roll along state highways in Oregon.

Check your route on TripCheck.com. We’ve added more cameras showing road conditions, more real travel times, look for cones on our construction projects, and striped lines to see local partners road and construction information.

Plan ahead. Major events like the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 in Eugene, July 15-24, may cause delays on Interstate 5. Watch for message signs warning of congestion. Slow down, and be aware of fellow travelers who may not be familiar with our state highways.

Plan a car-free trip. Consider taking the POINT bus or Amtrak to the games in Eugene, and walking or biking around town. Or avoid the crowds and plan a walking or biking tour. Look for resources under “Plan your Trip”.

Driving electric? Look forward to upgraded EV charging stations along major roads like I-5, I-84, and U.S. 101. Some chargers on these roads are part of the West Coast Electric Highway network and now have upgraded plug types that can connect to more EV models. You can spot the new chargers by their orange-colored stickers.

Oregon has about 2,100 public EV charging stations throughout the state. We’re about to get a lot more along major roads and in Oregon’s communities over the next few years, courtesy of ODOT’s pledge of $100 million for EV charging infrastructure.

Construction is everywhere. Road and bridge construction occur year around in Oregon, but paving needs good weather and so large projects happens in the summer. Check out our Project Tracker and see what is planned. Check TripCheck for any delays from projects underway.  Watch for orange, slow down around work zones and help everyone get home safely.

Take extra caution around chip seals. This lower cost paving method extends the life of the road, but slow down as there can be loose rock around that may fly and break windows or chip paint.

To make travel easier for Oregonians and the thousands of visitors expected for the World Athletic Championships, some construction and maintenance projects will be on hold for three weeks in July.

Rules of the Road. Know what to expect on Oregon roads. The Move Over Law says you must move to another lane if an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road with emergency lights flashing. If you can’t change lanes, slow down. ODOT Incident Responders are on the road to respond to incidents with other first responder partners. Have you been driving awhile? Brush up on the rules in 2022-2023 Oregon Driver Manual.

Waterfall Corridor improved access. The much-loved Waterfall Corridor of the Historic Columbia River Highway can be visited by bike, bus, or tour. If you drive in your personal vehicle, you’ll need a timed use permit from May 24 until Sept. 5 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Permits are available online for a $2 transaction fee. A limited number of same-day permits (with no fee) are available in person at several area locations. More information on transportation options and permits.

Wildfires. Debris cleanup from 2020’s devastating wildfires is done, but some of road repairs continue this summer. Expect delays on OR 224, OR 22, OR 126, and OR 138 as crews continue to remove rocks and debris over the highway, fix fire-damaged roads, remove hazardous trees and re-seed with native plants, and repave. OR 224 is open but most recreation areas remain closed and there are multiple work zones.

Last year in Oregon, cars were the number one source of wildfires during the summer. Do your part to prevent them. If you have to pull off the road, stay on hardened surfaces and avoid dry grass. Never, ever toss a lit cigarette or any burning materials from you vehicle.

If you end up in a smoky area, turn on your headlights so others can see you.

Be Prepared. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before you head out. Check your coolant, hoses, and your tires. Have emergency supplies in your vehicle. Food, water, extra medications, a first aid kit, a paper road map, phone charger, jumper cables, a safety vest and a flashlight all may come in handy as you travel.

Know before you go and have a safe trip wherever you go and however you choose to get there.

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