On the road again? 'More challenges than probably any other project'

EDDYVILLE, Ore. - To say the Highway 20 improvement project between Corvallis and Newport has faced a rocky road could be an understatement.

"This project has delivered more challenges than probably any other project of this generation," said Rick Little, an Oregon DOT spokesperson.

Begun in 2006, the project was dogged by landslides, cost overruns and a dispute between the state and contractor.

Two years ago, Oregon DOT blasted the bridge columns and fired the contractor.

The original budget of $153 million for the project wasn't enough; the total cost is now project at $365.78 million. But Oregon DOT said since the state took control of the project in 2012, all phases have come in on-time and on-budget.

Now the new plan is to lower the road level, improve drainage and replace a curvy 10 mile, hairpin curve section of road, with straighter pavement.

Lateral pipes and culverts help move the water.

"Those drains draw the water out of the areas that we don't want that activates the landslides and moves it to areas where we want it to go," said Jerry Wolcott, an ODOT project manager.

"And we're taking the water pressure out of the dirt in essence and bringing it to the outside," said Jaime Viramontes, the ODOT assistant project manager.

There's still more than 2 years worth of work left for ODOT and the main contractor.

Little said Fall 2016 appears doable.