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Traffic unjammed

A transportation proposal would smooth traffic flows near the Costco shopping center by the end of the decade

Like calling another cashier to check out backed-up customers, Medford plans a new entrance to the Costco shopping center in hopes of easing what's become a massive traffic headache northeast of town.

A sign of the future plan already is visible on Crater Lake Avenue just north of Webfoot Road where both roads connect with Highway 62. A wide new spur of Owen Drive stretches east a few hundred feet from Crater Lake Avenue and stops in a dirt field.

The idea is to create a new intersection with Highway 62 at Owen, which would funnel northeast Medford traffic from a realigned Springbrook Road to the southeast.

— The &

36;3.5 million intersection, one of four new projects proposed for state funding in Jackson and Josephine counties by the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation, would help ease congestion at Delta Waters Road and Highway 62. A current signal at Cardinal Avenue in front of Costco would go away, and access there would be for right-in, right-out turns only.

The Owen Drive intersection could be completed as soon as 2009, according to Alex Georgevitch, Medford Public Works' transportation manager. He said Owen Drive's extension to Springbrook will be driven by development in the area to the east. Already some homes are planned for the area where the new Owen Drive spur ends.

Once Owen and Springbrook are linked, the city plans to realign Springbrook where two of its three sections meet Delta Waters Road. That work is planned for sometime between 2009 and 2013. Development eventually could connect Springbrook Road all the way to Coker Butte Road and perhaps even farther north.

As it is now, motorists northbound on Springbrook must make a left turn onto Delta Waters, travel about 200 feet, and make a right turn back onto Springbrook.

The city purchased and rents out two houses on the southwest corner of Springbrook and Delta Waters; the homes will be demolished when construction begins.

Together these projects would allow drivers from east Medford to zip up Springbrook to Owen, then to the shopping center. Now, drivers funnel through the heavily congested intersection at Delta Waters at Highway 62, the only two roads from Medford and Interstate 5 that provide access to the enormous shopping center that includes Safeway, PetsMart, Olive Garden, Lowe's, Old Navy, Pier 1, Wal-Mart and Costco.

The Oregon Transportation Commission will review RVACT's proposed project list in August 2005 and choose the final statewide projects to be funded for the 2008-09 capital improvement program.

The other three projects are:

North Ross Lane in Medford (&

36;1.5 million): Widening North Ross Lane and providing sidewalks between Rossanley and McAndrews Road.

Kirtland Road at Blackwell Road intersection improvement in White City (&

36;2.1 million): Realignment of a freight route from White City to the Seven Oaks interchange in Interstate 5 (exit 35) north of Central Point.

Highway 199 Expressway Upgrade, phase 1, in Grants Pass (&

36;5.7 million): A safety project from the South Y west toward the Applegate River bridge.

The stoplight at Cardinal Avenue and Highway 62 that funnels some traffic in and out of Costco would be removed and a new intersection created between Cardinal and Webfoot Road, where the left-turn lane is in the background center of this photo. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell