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MailTribune.com
  • Oregon wine country bypass work at last under way

    A Talent company bid on job, began working a month ago
  • PORTLAND — Heavy equipment is moving 100 truckloads of dirt and rock a day as a long-planned bypass through Oregon's wine country gets under construction.
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  • PORTLAND — Heavy equipment is moving 100 truckloads of dirt and rock a day as a long-planned bypass through Oregon's wine country gets under construction.
    The Newberg-Dundee Bypass will eliminate one of the biggest bottlenecks on the Oregon highway system by creating an alternate route to the two lanes of Oregon 99 West that pass through the center of Dundee. They see heavy traffic from, among others, visitors to the wineries and tasting rooms of the region.
    The $262 million project is the largest new highway construction job in years in northwest Oregon, likely since the opening of Interstate 205 in east Portland in 1983, said spokesman Lou Torres of the state Department of Transportation.
    "It will get truck traffic and significant auto traffic out of Dundee and Newberg and give the downtowns back to the communities," Torres said.
    Talk of the bypass has been going for so long that communities didn't believe it would happen, even after a formal groundbreaking late last year, Torres told The Oregonian.
    Political and financing problems plagued it. Once there was talk of making it a toll road, but that didn't gain traction.
    Skepticism disappeared when LaDuke Construction of Talent in Southern Oregon bid $8 million to win the initial contract for site preparation and began work a month ago.
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