Today a strip of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway will close, along with the Gorge's iconic Vista House. This is the final stage of construction on a renovation project.

Chris[tmas, Portland / Flickr

Looking north at Vista House in the Columbia River Gorge.

Starting today, the highway won't admit cars, bikes, or walkers from Larch Mountain Road to LaTourell Falls. Limited road access will be back by May 24th. Don Hamilton with Oregon's Department of Transportationsays crews aim to restore full access for Memorial Day weekend.

"Let's remember Crown Point is nearly a hundred years old," Hamilton says, "and there's a 600-foot viaduct that surrounds Vista House. It's got 29 support columns and they're starting to deteriorate. If we don't getthese restored, the road could require weight restrictions, and that would keep the tourist buses, RVs and other large vehicles off the road. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in the state of Oregon."The project includes repairs to the viaduct's columns and cracks in the top of its deck.Construction is scheduled to finish in mid-June. The federal government takes primary responsibility for the $4.2 million project, but the state is taking care of some roads near the site.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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