New projects could be coming to area greenways

Nearly $1 million worth of new projects could be coming to the Bear Creek and Rogue River greenways if approved as one of Jackson County’s “Enhance It” projects.

The Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation will hear proposals from Bear Creek Greenway and other project officials at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Jackson County Parks Auditorium, 7520 Table Rock Road, White City.

One proposal is to build ramps connecting the Bear Creek Greenway to Highway 62 near Target and Red Lobster in Medford. The Greenway currently passes underneath the highway. One ramp each would be built on the north and south sides at a cost of $501,000.

"There's no way to get from the trail up to the highway itself," said Jenna Stanke, Jackson County special projects manager.

Greenway users have cut the fences to get up to the highway. The fences have been repaired several times.

"Enough where as soon as they're repaired, they get cut again," Stanke said.

The project would kick off in 2016 at the earliest, she said.

Another proposal asks for $450,000 for preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition for a new 2.5 mile stretch of the Rogue River Greenway. It would extend the path that currently runs from Depot Street Bridge in the city of Rogue River, through Valley of the Rogue State Park, to Twin Bridges Road.

"Basically, it's getting the project ready to go," Stanke said.

The new stretch would run along North River Road from Twin Bridges east to a short segment already complete near Del Rio Vineyards outside Gold Hill.

Other projects presented at the meeting will included additional truck climbing lanes on Interstate 5 north of Grants Pass and improvements on Lozier Lane in Medford. The $7.5 million project on Lozier Lane concerns a stretch about eight-tenths of a mile between Main Street and West Stewart Avenue. The project would add sidewalks, curbs, gutters, storm drains and a center continuous turn lane. County officials said they have raised about 90 percent of the funds needed to proceed.

The stretch was the site of a hit-and-run that severely injured three teenagers back in September.

"If you go out there anytime, you'll see walkers or bikers in the travel lane because there's nowhere else to be," said county engineer Mike Kuntz.

— Ryan Pfeil

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