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MailTribune.com
  • Foothill Road extension to White City planned

  • Rogue Valley drivers looking for a straight shot between White City and Phoenix likely will have the option down the road.
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  • Rogue Valley drivers looking for a straight shot between White City and Phoenix likely will have the option down the road.
    Jackson County is planning to extend Foothill Road from its current stopping point at the Corey Road intersection to Atlantic Avenue in White City. That three-quarters of a mile stretch would cross a portion of the Jackson County Sports Park and Highway 140.
    Jackson County Roads and Parks officials say they're hoping to kick off the $1.8 million project in 2016.
    "Atlantic Avenue is a major north-south arterial in the White City area," said Roads and Parks Director John Vial.
    The project would be paid for with a mixture of system development charges and federal funds.
    After the extension is built, county officials want to make improvements on North Foothill Road between Delta Waters and Corey roads, if they can get funds. That project would aim to make the road more "forgiving" for drivers, Vial said.
    "Foothill Road has a lot of traffic on it, but it's typical of a lot of county roads," Vial said. "They're narrow and not in great alignment. Horizontal-vertical curves are pretty windy."
    A Sunday crash on Foothill Road that killed a 26-year-old woman when she lost control of her vehicle near the Coker Butte Road intersection is an example of the stretch's potential dangers, Vial said.
    "If you make a mistake on those kinds of roads, it can be catastrophic, as we just saw," Vial said.
    County officials are looking at several possible upgrades, including wider shoulders and better alignments, allowing higher capacity and smoother turns.
    "It tries to make the road a little more forgiving when drivers make mistakes," Vial said.
    Officials from the city of Medford and Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization recently said a route between Eagle Point and Phoenix should be a priority. The city has agreed to look into borrowing $10 million from the Oregon Transportation Infrastructure Bank and committing another $3 million in federal money to widen about a mile of Foothill Road between McAndrews and Hillcrest roads.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com.
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