March 16, 2010

An Open Letter To Coastal Community Leaders, Business Owners and Residents,

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) benefited tremendously from the voices of everyone who has shared their thoughts and views on how best to accomplish the needed repairs to the historic Dennis L Edwards Tunnel.

The agency had planned to make a decision on the scope of project in mid-April. However, after a series of public meetings and a strong, consistent outpouring of public input, we have decided to remove the vertical clearance component from the tunnel project. We recognize concerns about the fragile economic conditions along the coast, and potential impacts to tourism-dependent communities from a public perception of a lengthy road closure.

While we must ensure that the structure is safe and beneficial for all users, we also understand and appreciate the concerns of all who have contributed to this conversation. This decision allows us to move forward with the relining work, which must take place soon.

The construction schedule will likely begin at the end of this year, and will be scheduled to conclude before the tourism season draws strong traffic volumes to the coast. ODOT will take steps to retain a well-qualified and experienced contractor for this project to help ensure it is done right and completed on schedule.

ODOT will design a specific public awareness campaign, incorporating the tourism industry and targeting media throughout the region to remind the public that the coast is open for business. We will continue to work with the public on many of the concerns and suggestions we received from the public meetings including project schedule, construction and the detour route.

Our mission is to create and maintain a safe, reliable transportation network throughout the state. We remain committed to being responsive and supportive to the communities we serve, and we very much appreciate your continued contributions to help inform our work. We thank the public for the time and effort to share its views, comments, feedback and suggestions in helping ODOT make this decision.

For more information about the project, please visit: www.Dennisedwardstunnel.org and www.GetToTheCoast.org.

Sincerely,

Jason Tell

Region 1 Manager

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