Widening Foothill Road as part of a long-range effort to connect Phoenix with Eagle Point is a priority for the city of Medford, the City Council agreed today.

Widening Foothill Road as part of a long-range effort to connect Phoenix with Eagle Point is a priority for the city of Medford, the City Council agreed today.

The council approved looking at borrowing $10 million at a low-interest rate from the Oregon Transportation Infrastructure Bank along with committing another $3 million in federal money for a portion of the project.

The $13 million would pay for widening about one mile of Foothill Road between McAndrews and Hillcrest roads to four lanes with a center turn lane.

Ultimately, the city, Jackson County and local cities want to create a major thoroughfare along Foothill Road to provide another major route other than Interstate 5.

"We need to make it a priority," said Al Densmore, former councilor who is on the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The city would construct other portions of the road as money from grants and other sources becomes available. In Medford, the roadway is already four lanes on a two-mile stretch from just south of Barnett Road to Hillcrest.

Currently most of Foothill Road is a winding, two-lane country road

Densmore said that if the city invests in the widening project it will help attract more federal and state dollars in the future.

Cory Crebbin, public works director, said the city would pay the loan off in 10 years, which would amount to $1.1 million based on the current interest rate from the transportation bank of 1.88 percent.

— Damian Mann