The Medford City Council on Thursday approved a 16-years-in-the-making plan to fix a traffic bottleneck at the intersection of Springbrook and Delta Waters roads.

The Medford City Council on Thursday approved a 16-years-in-the-making plan to fix a traffic bottleneck at the intersection of Springbrook and Delta Waters roads.

The plan was given unanimous approval during Thursday's meeting. Only a few minor changes were made to the project to beautify the final product before it is completed.

The plan includes realigning Springbrook so that it creates a traditional intersection where it crosses Delta Waters. The south side of Springbrook will be pushed 250 feet to the west, beginning at Pheasant Lane.

In addition, 850 feet of Springbrook will be fitted with sidewalks, bike lanes, planter strips, storm drains, street lights and a center turn lane.

"It is a badly needed project," said Cory Crebbin, the city's public works director.

The area is infamous for traffic snarls that hurt commute times for drivers entering and leaving Medford.

Crebbin noted that the idea to improve the area was put before the City Council in 1996. These plans were scrapped in favor of other roads projects.

Earlier this year, the council adopted an agreement between the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation for the $1.2 million project.

The project qualifies for almost $700,000 in federal grants targeted for congestion relief and air-quality improvements. The city will contribute another $500,000.

Traffic on Springbrook spiked after a $10 million intersection was placed at Owen and Highway 62 to provide better access into the many large shopping centers in that region.

City officials purchased two houses in the 1990s along Springbrook that will be demolished as part of the project.

The result has been a large headache for motorists.

Crebbin has said the work on the intersection will begin in the next two years.

A few minor changes were adopted by the council Thursday night, to include spending approximately $10,000 to plant trees throughout the project to make it more visibly pleasing.

Councilman Bob Strosser said the city often requires developers to include landscaping in their projects and that it's fair for the city to do the same.

"We are known as 'Tree City U.S.A' so we think it's fitting that we have landscaping in the area," Strosser said. "This will help beautify the section at a nominal price."

The trees will be placed in planters that were included in the original plans.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.