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How will the World Athletics Championships in Eugene impact summer road travel?

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Hayward Field

EUGENE, Ore. — For 10 days next month, Eugene, Ore. will be the center of the track and field world. 

The college town will be hosting some of the world's best athletes for the World Athletics Championships. It will be from July 15-24 at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

The competition will bring an estimated 25,000-30,000 visitors to Oregon. Many people are expected to book hotels an hour or two away from the stadium and commute to Eugene.

"They know they have people booking in Roseburg, we knew early on that groups from around the world were booking in Corvallis," said Andy Vobora Travel Lane County

Hotels in Eugene are mostly booked, and it's expected that many fans will stay in Portland, Salem, the Oregon Coast and even across the Cascades in Bend. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is preparing for the influx in drivers. Despite summer also being peak road work season, the agency is staying flexible.

"There are also some things that we could pause for bit, and that means we’re just gonna take a break, get those construction cones off the road and put them back when everything’s done and folks have gone home," said Angela Beers-Seydel with ODOT.

Once in Eugene, bikeshare options have been expanded significantly. However, there is a shortage of rideshare services.  

Travel Lane County said that pre-pandemic, there were about 2,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in the Eugene area. The number is now fewer than 400.

OR-126 is the major connector from the Oregon Coast to Eugene; ODOT will pause paving scheduled along that road while the World Athletics Championships are in town. 

Other projects must continue. 

Highway 97 is undergoing major construction in Central Oregon. ODOT said transportation officials will “modify their traffic control plans as needed if they’re seeing a lot of folks come to visit and they need to get them through faster." 

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