According to ODOT Senior Planner Tom Guevara, the success of a two-year study for Interstate 5 Exits 40 and 43 near Gold Hill relies on public input.
The Interchange Area Management Plan helps guide future development. The IAMP develops preferred alternatives and proposed access control measures with the help of local, transportation stakeholders. These measures are designed to improve safety and capacity over the next 20 years.
“We want to hear from local business owners, property owners, residents, and commuters who use these exits regularly,” said Guevara. “The alternatives must meet several requirements, including a 20-year window to plan for the needs and growth around Exit 40 and Exit 43.”
Exit 40 provides access to Gold Hill and outdoor recreation areas, while Exit 43 provides access to outdoor recreation areas and associated activities. The IAMP provides specific transportation improvement projects for future consideration based on current and future development near the interchange.
“The IAMP evaluates the operation of the Exit 40 and 43 interchanges and determines if there are any areas of concern, now or in the future,” said Guevara. “The plan also identifies long-term needs based on planned development in the area.”
Guevara said the IAMP is expected to be adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission in 2016.
A public open house was held in October at the Gold Hill City Council Chambers. That presentation illustrated major concepts to extend and improve the turning radius at each ramp. The improvements could add up to as much as $10 million for Exit 40 improvements and $3.9 million for Exit 43 improvements.
Plan development included a technical advisory committee consisting of representatives from Gold Hill, Jackson County and the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization. Once the plan is finalized it goes before the city and county for adoption.
A review of interchange ramp characteristics indicated inadequate acceleration and deceleration distances at all four I-5 Exit 40 ramps as well as the northbound and southbound off-ramps of Exit 43. The I-5 Exit 40 and 43 intersections are forecast to meet operational targets in the future year (2038); however, traffic safety and a multimodal system that supports all forms of transportation are issues.
“Although no funding is currently allocated for the transportation improvements identified in this IAMP, the completion of the plan itself brings these concepts much closer to reality,” said Guevara.