State funds will be used to connect the Bear Creek Greenway bicycle and pedestrian path to Crater Lake Highway near the north Medford freeway interchange.
The roughly $500,000 in improvements will provide a connecting path to the highway and put a pedestrian crosswalk across the southbound I-5 on/off ramps.
"Right now the path goes under the overpass," said Jenna Stanke, Jackson County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program manager. "There's no way to get up to the actual roadway. You would either need to get off the path at McAndrews (Road) or up at the railroad park to access Target, even though it's right there."
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners approved the project Wednesday at its weekly public meeting in the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium.
"This is one of the last pieces of the puzzle," said Commissioner Doug Breidenthal, referring to the 18-mile bike and walking path's piece-by-piece construction, which has been in the works since the 1970s.
The State Bicycle and Pedestrian Program will fund most of the project, contributing no more than $449,500, with up to $51,500 in matching funds from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
"In other words, (Jackson) County has no financial impact from this. We're simply managing the project," said Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan.
Stanke said several project design details are still being worked out. Construction is expected to begin in summer 2015.
"I've been waiting for this section to be finished," said Commissioner John Rachor. "Especially the I-5 on-ramps deal. That's kind of a nightmare."
Other recently approved additions include a 1.4-mile portion linking East Pine Street to Upton Road near The Expo in Central Point.
"We are just looking at increased on-street connections to the Greenway," Stanke said.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at email@example.com.