97 percent of curb ramps on state highways not ADA-compliant

A semitrailer passes in front of an ADA-compliant wheelchair ramp crossing Highway 395 in Hermiston in 2018. Summer roadwork will add similar curb ramps from Southeast Fourth Street to Interstate 84.

Highway 395 will be more accessible after a summer project by the Oregon Department of Transportation through Hermiston and Umatilla.

According to an agreement that the Hermiston City Council approved on Monday, July 13, ODOT will be upgrading street corners along Highway 395 from Southeast Fourth Street in Hermiston through Stanfield to Interstate 84, to construct curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The department had previously installed ADA-compliant ramps along the highway in Hermiston farther north as part of an ongoing effort to bring curb ramps on state highways up to code. In 2017, a report by Disability Rights Oregon stated that 97% of the crossings on state highways in Oregon were not completely in compliance with ADA rules.

According to a July 13 news release, ODOT is reevaluating the timeline for some of its projects after facing revenue shortfalls along with other state agencies due to the economic downturn spurred by COVID-19. The department’s latest revenue forecasts predicts losses of about $170 million in 2020 and 2021.

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