Travelers need to pack their patience and allow extra travel time this Labor Day weekend, according to an advisory issued by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

With an overwhelming number of travelers using their car and staying close to home because of COVID-19, many people will again be heading to Central Oregon this week. Central Oregon has been a favorite destination this summer, causing periods of significant congestion on U.S. 97 and on the roads connecting the High Desert and Willamette Valley.

This weekend, travelers should expect heavy and slow traffic, especially at the beginning and end of the weekend as people travel between the High Desert and Willamette Valley. Also, travelers should be prepared for slow traffic in small towns and cities along US 97 and the routes leading to Central Oregon.

Traffic along the Oregon Coast is expected to be heavy as well. Police will be looking for aggressive and impaired drivers.

Some tips to consider before and during your trip:

  • Plan your travel route ahead and stay socially distant whenever possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Make sure that you and your passengers have several face coverings; all businesses are requiring masks for entry because of the spread of COVID-19.
  • Carry plenty of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other personal items for sanitation.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
  • Don’t use backroads to get around traffic congestion; these roads are typically unimproved and present a number of potential hazards.
  • There are many parking/illegal camping restrictions on highways and county roads; please obey the signs that are there for your safety; in addition, law enforcement can cite you for parking illegally.
  • Protect our health and the environment by disposing of your garbage appropriately.
  • Obey the speed limit; we are seeing a lot of excessive speeds and high speed crashes.
  • Drive sober and don’t drive distracted; drivers should leave the cell phone to someone else.

For local and statewide travel information, visit TripCheck.com or call 511.


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