State OKs $142M more for troubled highway project

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Transportation Commission has approved an additional $142 million for an expensive, trouble-plagued project to realign a section of U.S. Highway 20 through the Coast Range.
   
The stretch of highway links Corvallis and Newport.
   
Wednesday's vote allows the state Transportation Department to proceed with work to replace a twisty 10-mile portion of the highway near Eddyville with a straighter, safer 5.5-mile route.
   
The project was originally estimated to cost $140 million.

With Wednesday's money infusion, the estimated cost is $366 million.

Work began in 2005 with completion expected by 2009. Now the targeted finish date has been moved back to 2016 at the earliest.
   
Construction on the improvements was halted in 2010 after unstable soils rendered three partially completed bridges and one finished span unsafe.

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