A logging contractor will begin falling trees along Highway 20 northwest of Sisters on Monday, April 29. The work is likely to have significant impact on traffic into and through Sisters.

Forest Service project manager Steve Orange told The Nugget that many of the affected trees are close to the highway. Between falling the trees and cleaning up debris and hauling logs away, impact on the travel lanes is inevitable and substantial.

The project will affect both sides of 12.5 miles of highway westbound from Sisters.

The Oregon Department of Transportation will provide traffic control during the project, which is expected to run from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the workweek and be completed by May 22. ODOT says that motorists should anticipate delays up to 20 minutes.

Goss Co. LLC was awarded a contract for $225,300 to do the work. The 2,100 trees that are being removed were killed or damaged by the application of the herbicide Perspective. In addition to falling, there will be a limited amount of tree-topping to leave wildlife snags in the area.

The problem with the trees near Sisters began developing from 2013 to 2015 when Perspective was used along the highway corridor to remove brush within the Oregon Department of Transportation right of way. The herbicide harmed ponderosa pines and other trees in the area where it was applied.

An assessment by the U.S. Forest Service determined that thousands of trees in the corridor west of Sisters are dead or dying. The Forest Service began marking trees to be removed last Monday.