Central Point officials want to improve the junction of Hamrick and Beebe roads before projected growth makes traffic control there a necessity.
Residents on the east side of Interstate 5, who would be most impacted by changes at that intersection, were asked whether they preferred a traffic light or roundabout. Most preferred a traffic signal but only after development occurs on the east side of Beebe Road, Public Works Director Matt Samitore said.
He'll present the findings to the City Council Thursday as it mulls over adding initial design and engineering as a supplemental budget item for the 2018-19 budget.
The area affected surrounds Beebe Farm, the Central Point East subdivision and the property on which the historic Mon Desir restaurant once stood.
“The real thing that’s driving the discussion of Beebe and Hamrick is the city wants to get ahead of growth," Samitore said. "We oftentimes are catching up and putting in improvements once construction has already been completed and traffic has been generated out of that development.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in the property by the Catholic church, near Beebe Farms, and on what will eventually be White Hawk Estates. They’re some of the few undeveloped parcels in the city.”
Samitore predicted more than 700 single- and multifamily homes could be built in the area in the coming years.
A signal would better control traffic flow and ensure cross-street traffic could get onto Hamrick, but it also would do nothing to deter heavy freight truck use and would require added maintenance contracts and state regulations, Samitore said.
The roundabout option would cost less to maintain, be more aesthetically pleasing and discourage freight traffic, but the initial costs would be higher, he said. The city would need to purchase right-of-way and demolish a house to make room for the roundabout.
The intersection's ratings for volume of traffic, speed and crashes range from manageable to “at capacity," depending on time of day and surrounding uses, he said. Heaviest traffic times occur after nearby church services.
“Traffic on Hamrick hasn’t increased all that much other than what you would see as normal traffic increases from the development in and around the area,” Samitore said.
“We haven’t seen major changes to any of the intersections out there at this point, but we know it will eventually happen.”
Samitore said funding from a recently approved transportation bill would pay for engineering and design, estimated at $100,000, with future budgets allowing for eventual construction.
Thursday’s meeting will begin in council chambers at 7 p.m. at Central Point City Hall, 140 S. Third St.
— Reach Medford freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.