Smoother, safer ride on U.S. 199

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While a summer of nighttime paving from Applegate River Bridge to Slate Creek is finished on the Redwood Highway (U.S. 199), there’s more work ahead before the project is scheduled for completion.

Over the past two summers, 21 miles of open-graded asphalt on U.S. 199 was replaced with a dense grade mix of asphalt that created a smoother ride. In addition to the paving work, the projects replaced failing culverts, widened highway shoulders and added many safety improvements along the corridor. Drivers now have center line rumble strips, guardrail that meets today’s safety standards and new ADA ramps at three intersections in Cave Junction.

A new right-turn lane for westbound traffic was added at the intersection of Redwood Highway and Round Prairie Road.

The 2015 project included a lane conversion in Cave Junction, reducing the number of traffic lanes from four to three and including a new two-way, left-turn lane. The city of Cave Junction supported the design, which added bicycle lanes on both sides of the highway and improved pedestrian access along a half-mile section inside the city limits.

The Redwood Highway experiences one of the larger seasonal increases in traffic compared to other Oregon highways, averaging as much as 9,100 vehicles per day throughout the year and rising to more than 11,000 vehicles per day during the summer.

The section of the Redwood Highway from Grants Pass to Cave Junction has a higher-than-normal crash rate for rural interstate highways in Oregon with many of the crashes involving drivers who run off the road, especially at night.

“Many of the crashes we respond to on Redwood Highway are due to drivers making poor decisions, such as driving too fast, driving while distracted and driving while under the influence of intoxicants,” said OSP Lieutenant Jeff Fitzgerald.

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