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U.S. 20/OR 201: Burns to Ontario - Freight and Safety Improvements


We are currently designing a project along U.S. 20 (Central Oregon Highway), between Riley Junction and Ontario. The purpose of the project is to improve freight movement and safety along this corridor.

Our online open house gives you project information and an opportunity to ask questions.

You can learn more about this project by visiting each station.

You will find our contact information at the end. We encourage you to submit comments or questions.

This open house closes Wednesday, July 15 at 5:00 p.m.

You may go directly to a station using the buttons below, or click the Get Started: Project Overview button at the top of the screen to move through the stations in order.


Find general project information, including purpose, project map, timeline and cost of project.
Learn about the plan to improve freight movement and safety along U.S. 20
Learn about the plan to improve safety for all travelers at this intersection.
Learn about other safety concerns along the project corridor.
Find out how the project may impact you.
We want to hear from you. Submit comments and questions here.

Project Overview

We need to improve freight movement and safety along U.S. Highway 20 through eastern Oregon.


The purpose of this project is to:

  • Create pullouts for oversized loads along U.S. 20.
  • Provide dedicated truck parking during highway closures. When main highways close (I-84, US20, US26, OR201), local parking lots fill up with vehicles waiting for the closure to end. Many trucks are forced to park in travel lanes because they have nowhere to go.
  • Address safety concerns at several intersections along this route to benefit all travelers.

Project map and elements

This project is located along U.S. 20 and OR 201 through eastern Oregon. 

  • Project begins at Riley Junction, milepost 114, 16 miles east of Burns.
  • Project ends at Ontario, OR 201 milepost 25.8 near I-84 Exit 274.

Enlarged project map.

Tentative Timeline

Design work began in 2019.

Construction is scheduled for 2023.

Estimated project cost

Total estimated cost is $12.5 million. This includes $10 million provided by HB2017 (Keep Oregon Moving Act).

Public Engagement

  • 2019 (fall): We met with key industry stakeholders and the South East and North East Area Commission on Transportation.
  • 2020 (summer): We met with the Malheur County Safety Commissions.

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U.S. 20 Freight Improvements

Project elements include upgrading pullouts along U.S. 20 between Riley Junction and Ontario.


U.S. 20 provides an alternate route for oversize east-west freight traffic when these vehicles are diverted from Interstate 84 because of construction, weather or other emergencies. However, some locations cannot accommodate all over-dimension loads due to curves, narrow highways and limited passing opportunities.

Larger freight transports often need to travel 35 mph or less, and take up the majority of two lanes. Delays, frustrations and hazards greet other travelers.

Depending on the size and weight of the load, truck drivers may be forced to travel 100 extra miles along OR 78 and U.S. 95 to detour around sections of U.S. 20.


We will pave existing pullouts between Riley Junction and Ontario.

Large loads impacting traffic will move in stages, using these paved pullouts to allow traffic to pass before travelling to the next pullout.

These upgrades will improve the efficiency of freight movement and make the corridor safer for all travelers.

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U.S. 20/OR 201 Cairo Junction Intersection

The project addresses safety concerns at Cairo Junction, where U.S. 20 and OR 201 meet.

The Oregon Department of Transportation's Roundabout Program. 4:09


This intersection in rural Malheur County has a higher than average crash rate. Between 2009 and 2018, it was the site of 31 crashes. Of those, 15 were injury crashes with one fatality.

Safety improvements

  • We will install a roundabout.
  • The design creates safe access to properties along the east side of the intersections.
  • The design also provides a dedicated turn lane for southbound traffic headed toward Vale.

Why a roundabout?

A roundabout at Cairo Junction will:

  • Improve safety by slowing traffic through the intersection and moving it in the same direction.
  • Reduce the number of crashes.
  • Reduce the number of injury crashes by 80%.
  • Reduce or eliminate fatal injury crashes.
  • Improve traffic flow by reducing wait times to merge during periods of heavy traffic.
  • Reduce the number of highway access driveways near the roundabout for residents and businesses adjacent to Cairo Junction.

You can learn more about roundabouts here.

Watch this short, animated video for an idea of traffic moving through the Cairo Junction roundabout. 

57% Complete

Other Safety Improvements

This project addresses two other safety concerns along this U.S. 20 corridor.

  • Improve safety at six key intersections between Riley Junction and Ontario.
  • Create an area in Ontario for truck parking during freeway closures.

U.S. 20 Intersections

We will investigate safety improvements at six additional intersections along the project corridor.

  • Harney Road at milepost 139.2.
  • Crane/Buchanan Road at milepost 154.9.
  • Pine Creek Road at milepost 158.63.
  • Harper Junction at milepost 223.16.
  • Louise Street at milepost 247.5.
  • Halliday Road at milepost 251.1.

Truck parking during freeway closures

We will widen a section of OR 201 between Verde Drive and NW Washington Avenue, mileposts 26.17 to 25.77, to create dedicated parking space for freight haulers during freeway closures. Reducing the number of trucks parked along local streets when they are stranded in Ontario will improve safety.

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Construction and Traffic Impacts

Construction is expected to begin April 2023 and continue through November 2023. This schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Traffic ImpactsLink to project webpage.

During construction, travelers can expect lane closures, flaggers, possible pilot cars and delays up to 20 minutes.

When the project begins, we will update the project webpage with details.

Visit for updates to traffic impacts.

Link to

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Contact Us

Next steps.

The project design is scheduled to be finalized in 2022, with construction anticipated for 2023.

Link to project webpage.

We will post information to our project webpage. You can sign up below to receive these updates via email.

We want to hear from you.

Please take a moment to submit any questions via our survey. Your input will help us tailor future outreach to make sure we are getting the word out about project updates.

U.S. 20/OR 201: Burns to Ontario Freight and Safety Improvements online open house survey.

Contact us for more information

Please contact us if you want more information or wish to comment on the project.

Sign up for project updates:

The Oregon Department of Transportation offers subscribers more than 100 specialized email alerts, including contractor bid notices, information for freight haulers, news releases and news about local area commissions on transportation, among other items. To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

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