McKENZIE BRIDGE – With approximately 6 inches of snow already accumulated on the west side of the McKenzie Pass Highway, and more snow expected through the week, the Oregon Department of Transportation will close Oregon 242, west of the summit, for the season this evening at 5pm.
Effective 5pm today, November 10th, the highway will be closed from MP 54.97, the junction of OR 126 (McKenzie Hwy.) to MP 76.7, three-quarters of a mile west of the Dee Wright Observatory.
Access to Dee Wright Observatory will still be available from Sisters until additional snow accumulates on the eastern roadway.
Built in the mid-1930s, the highway became a seasonal scenic highway in the 1960s with the completion of the Clear Lake-Belknap Springs section of OR 126.
Even during its tenure as the main route between the southern Willamette Valley and central Oregon, the narrow, twisting roadway and high elevation made the highway too difficult and expensive to maintain and keep clear during the winter months.
ODOT’s records indicate that the earliest closure of the Old McKenzie Pass Highway occurred on October 18, 1996. The latest closure happened on January 10, 1939.