Latest Project Information

The Dennis Edwards Tunnel project post-construction report is now available. Please visit the Project Library to download the file.

Tunnel Reopening Ceremony
June 29, 2011

Project Videos

Dennis Edward's Tunnel 02 - The Tunnel After Dark

Dennis Edward's Tunnel 03 - Summary

Tunnel Closure Schedule

To keep the road open to the coast, the Dennis Edwards Tunnel will be open weekdays and weekends. The contractor, Johnson Western Gunite, will work inside the tunnel through June (work began mid-January). During daytime work, motorists will be directed through the tunnel by flaggers.

The work requires overnight tunnel closures during the week, but motorists can still get around the tunnel using the detour.

The tunnel will be closed according to the following closure schedule:

  • January 19 through mid to late June 2011:
    • Tunnel closed Sunday nights from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
    • Tunnel closed Monday through Thursday from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
    • Daytime flagging Monday through Thursdays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During flagging, drivers should expect a maximum 10-minute delay when traveling through the tunnel. Average delays should be 3-5 minutes.
  • Summer, 2011: Construction complete.

Project Work Period Extended

A series of unexpected and unplanned events extended completion past the planned May 27 and cost the project seven working nights. These included:

  • Landslides that closed Oregon Highway 6 in January, forcing the contractor to keep the U.S. 26 tunnel open for two nights. Another landslide on the detour route in early spring prevented the contractor from closing the tunnel.
  • Special Presidents Day weekend events along the Oregon Coast, for which the tunnel remained open because of increased traffic and increased public interest.
  • The March 11 tsunami after the earthquake in Japan, which meant opening the tunnel unexpectedly in the middle of the night to facilitate evacuations from the Coast.
  • Emergency Vehicles: The contractor in recent months opened the tunnel six times to allow emergency vehicles transporting patients between the Coast and Portland through the tunnel. In each event, the contractor needed at least two hours to first move equipment out of the way and then back in place to get back to work.
  • Wetter and Colder Weather: In late winter and early spring, the weather was colder and wetter than anticipated. This prevented the contractor from applying shotcrete (sprayable reinforced concrete) because of the colder temperatures.
  • Change in Site Conditions: After work started inside the tunnel, we realized that the soft rock was even more fragile than anticipated. The rock would delaminate with the added weight of the shotcrete while it cured. This resulted in portions of the soft rock and fresh shotcrete falling from the roof of the tunnel before the shotcrete had gained strength.

What ODOT is Doing

ODOT recognizes their commitments to the communities who use the tunnel and are working diligently to complete the weeknight closures before summer travel moves into full swing. The contractor is working several crews inside the tunnel around-the-clock and ODOT continues to monitor their progress.

In early spring, when the potential for not completing the overnight closures by May 27 was discovered, ODOT and the contractor worked to modify the design to a more efficient method speeding up the progress. This will ensure the overnight work will finish closer to early summer.

We appreciate the patience by all who use the tunnel and those impacted by this work. We understand the inconveniences caused by overnight closures and are working hard to complete them.

Project News

January 04, 2012

Post Construction Report

The Dennis Edwards Tunnel project post-construction report is now available. Please visit the Project Library to download the file.

June 27, 2011

Tunnel project in the news

Article: "Edwards Tunnel improvements nearing completion"

Read the full article from the June 24, 2011 Tillamook Headlight Herald

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