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MailTribune.com
  • Lack of lighting plagues on-ramps

  • I would like to point out a safety concern in Talent at Exit 21 on Interstate 5 that could lead to a wrong-way driver. The northbound exit and entrance ramps are right next to each other where they connect to the main road, and there is no lighting there. It is a challenge to see them at night and is especially difficult in w...
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  • I would like to point out a safety concern in Talent at Exit 21 on Interstate 5 that could lead to a wrong-way driver. The northbound exit and entrance ramps are right next to each other where they connect to the main road, and there is no lighting there. It is a challenge to see them at night and is especially difficult in winter with fog or rain. The exit points are off-set and down the road from the bridge, away from the well-lighted area around the southbound exit and entrance. Why is there no lighting for the northbound exit and entrance?
    — AJ
    AJ, given the horrific wrong-way crash that occurred on I-5 last week, there are lots of local people giving second thoughts to freeway interchange designs.
    Gary Leaming, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said that while he understands your concern, the Talent interchange is hardly alone in its lack of lighting. Many rural interchanges, including locally at Gold Hill, Rock Point and near Valley of the Rogue State Park, have no lights.
    Leaming says the unlighted interchanges are those that have relatively low volumes of traffic.
    "ODOT looks at whether there have been any problems such as crash history associated with the interchange and lighting," he wrote in an email, "and there doesn't appear to be anything notable (at the Talent interchange)."
    Leaming wrote that dispatch records show, aside from last week's crash, the last entry on a wrong-way driver at Talent dates to Dec. 30, 2011 at 3:30 a.m. That one happened at the southbound ramps, where there is lighting. Leaming said a wrong-way driver made it part way down the southbound off-ramp before he realized he was going the wrong way and turned around.
    Leaming said there are no plans to upgrade the Talent interchange. The most recent work occurred there in 2007, when the department replaced the overpass deck.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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