ASHLAND — An intersection near Lithia Springs Resort is getting a makeover, paving the way for development in the area.

ASHLAND — An intersection near Lithia Springs Resort is getting a makeover, paving the way for development in the area.

The intersection of Highway 99 and Valley View Road will connect with a realigned section of West Jackson Road, creating a traditional four-way intersection with traffic signals.

John Chmelir, a partner of 611 Associates listed in Jackson County property records as the owner of two vacant tax lots affected by the development, said several small businesses are being planned for the spot after the intersection is completed. Businesses being discussed include an upscale grocery store and a restaurant, he said.

"We have a general overall development plan for the property," Chmelir said.

West Jackson currently connects with Highway 99 just south of Valley View Road, which connects to Interstate 5 on-ramps nearby.

The busy intersection also is near Lithia Springs Resort, El Tapatio restaurant and Town & Country Chevrolet. Traffic turning south on Highway 99 from Valley View can encounter traffic coming off West Jackson Road, as well as traffic from the businesses.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the project in its weekly meeting Wednesday.

"The anticipation is that we will be awarding an engineering design contract as early as two weeks from today," said County Engineer Mike Kuntz.

The county plans to award a construction contract in early 2013 and start work next spring, he added.

A local improvement district will be created to fund the project. Property owners within the district will pay the estimated $850,000 cost in twice-yearly installments over a 15-year period, Kuntz said, which will amount to about $57,000 per year, plus interest.

Property owners along the stretch have said the improvements will help with future economic development and improve safety at the intersection.

Ryan Pfeil is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach him at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.