U.S. 199 Expressway project improves safety

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The second phase of transportation safety improvements along U.S. 199 (Redwood Highway) west of Grants Pass will continue through October.

Prime contractor Knife River Corporation (of Central Point, Oregon) is building a low level median and installing a new traffic signal at Hubbard Lane. The project will also add a new multi-use path on the north side of Redwood Highway between Dowell Road and Hubbard Lane.

The $5.3 million U.S. 199 Expressway project, also known as U.S. 199 RCC (Rogue Community College) to Dowell Road, is designed to make Redwood Highway safer for motorists and pedestrians by separating Redwood Highway traffic and providing new facilities for bicycles and pedestrians.

“Drivers have had a full summer of orange cones on this highway,” said ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers. “The contractor got a lot of work completed.”

“We’re getting down to the base paving before taking it to the final driving course of asphalt before we wrap things up this fall. This summer, the contractor extended an irrigation canal, added storm water pipes and, of course, moved a lot of dirt. The roadway base and asphalt are finally starting to take shape.”

Project design and development began in 2006 with a federally-required study of the corridor that included public input on the project.

The $3.5 million first phase of the U.S. 199 Expressway project improved safety along more than two miles of the corridor’s west side from RCC to Midway Avenue. The first phase installed medians to channel turning traffic and a raised median to stop a vehicle from crossing into the opposite lanes of travel. The project accommodated U-turns at Hubbard Lane and a wider intersection at Midway Avenue.

RVACT shelved final phase
Last spring, the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation (RVACT) voted to remove the remaining $4.5 million from the final phase of the U.S. 199 Expressway project. RVACT is an advisory body that considers regional and local transportation issues affecting the state system.

RVACT later reallocated the funds to other Josephine County projects.

However, ODOT will move ahead with plans to remove the traffic signal in front of the Josephine County Fairgrounds.

“Congestion and safety issues still exist on the highway,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson. “We’re taking steps to remove the fairgrounds traffic signal next year because of the high crash rate and the congestion it causes on the highway.”

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