EAGLE POINT — The City Council has requested that the speed limit on the portion of Highway 62 that runs through the city limits be reduced from 55 to 45 mph.

EAGLE POINT — The City Council has requested that the speed limit on the portion of Highway 62 that runs through the city limits be reduced from 55 to 45 mph.

The change would affect traffic on roughly a two-mile stretch between Dutton Road on the south and Linn Road on the north.

Council members have said they believe a lower speed limit is necessary because many new businesses have been built along this portion of the highway.

A letter from the council to the Oregon Department of Transportation also requests that left-turn signals at the Linn Road intersection, where it enters onto the highway, be changed from a flashing yellow arrow to a steady green when a left turn is permitted.

City Administrator David Hussell said that earlier councils have addressed the speed limit and left-turn signal issues with ODOT.

"It first started in 2000 with a resolution and a letter," he said.

"This was an issue that was part of the Linn-Dutton Project when it was originally designed and was expected to be built," Hussell said, "which would have actually allowed two flowing left-turn lanes with a protective green arrow.

"That was intended to be part of the project. ODOT took it out of the project scope when they ran out of money."

The $11.7 million Linn-Dutton Project was funded in 1998 under the federal government's Transportation Equity Act. It widened Highway 62 to four lanes, added traffic signals, and installed curbs and safety islands.

The council had initially decided to request only the speed-limit reduction, but after hearing from Eagle Point resident Paul Gentry at its last meeting, it added the turn-signal request.

Gentry said a couple of weeks ago he approached Highway 62 on Linn Road, intending to make a left turn. Because of heavy cross traffic, he had to wait for another light.

"That's when I discovered that we do not get a solid green light to turn onto Highway 62," Gentry said. "In addition to that, I found the intersection very disturbing, because when I finally did get into the intersection, recognizing that I had to be very careful with oncoming traffic and turn left at my own risk, I looked in the crosswalk, and what do I discover but a man on a walker and a lady on a motorized cart.

"When I saw them they were scared to death that I was going to hit them, and so was I. They were waving their hands at me to be sure I saw."

Gentry said it bothered him "a great deal, because I was frightened."

He said he had complained to ODOT about the intersection and the 55 mph speed limit on Highway 62.

"We have a lot more traffic here than they do in front of the Veterans Administration Domiciliary," he said. "Their speed limit is 45. I don't quite understand the logic behind that, if there is any."

Mayor Bob Russell said an ODOT representative will be at the City Council's Jan. 10 meeting to answer questions.

"We've been working diligently on Highway 62," Russell said, "trying to do something about the safety factor down there."

Freelance writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@live.com.