ODOT to require waterfall corridor permits to drive in parts of Columbia Gorge during peak season

CORBETT, Ore. — This summer, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is hoping to improve congestion along parts of the Historic Columbia River Highway, but it will come at a price to drivers.

From May 24 through Sept. 5, ODOT will require people in personal vehicles to buy a timed-access waterfall corridor permit. The permits would be required from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The pilot project is aimed at regulating the number of cars going through the area to alleviate congestion, especially near Multnomah Falls.

Permits will be checked at three staffed entry points: the Vista House, Ainsworth State Park and Exit 28 at Bridal Veil.

“This is really a modest step to start to take care of what’s becoming a very serious problem in the gorge,” said ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton. “It’s no secret that we’ve got a bad congestion problem.”

Hamilton said the permit cost has yet to be determined but should be under $5.00. He said fees will be used to pay for the permit system.

“It’s not designed to start paying for new pavement or anything like that,” said Hamilton.

Besides permit pricing, ODOT is also still sorting out how many permits they’ll sell each day. Buses will not need to purchase permits and neither will people on bicycles.

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