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Jackson County planners focus on 79 road projects

Gazing into Jackson County's future, transportation planners have zeroed in on 79 major and minor road projects to grapple with increasing traffic in the valley.

After contacting 100 property owners who might be affected by right-of-way acquisitions, Jackson County commissioners last week adopted a 20-year plan pinpointing nearly &

36;153 million worth of projects, many of them designed to improve the east-west connections across the county.

The list is separate from other transportation studies that have been undertaken by local cities.

A bypass for Highway 62 is still on the drawing board, even though congestion along this east-west corridor already aggravates commuters.

When you get stuck in traffic, it is the most common event that makes people talk about a lack of planning, said Ali Turiel, county planning director.

— An overpass at South Stage Road, which is also in the initial planning stages, would also provide better east-west traffic flow in the valley.

Other projects such as a Highway 140 expressway, which would divert an estimated 8 to 10 percent of traffic off Highway 62, are still a long way from completion, although bits and pieces of it will be built in the near future.

There are always more projects than there are dollars to fund them, said Turiel.

She said none of the property owners who might be affected by the road projects spoke at a public hearing last week.

see ROAD, Page 2A

Using a combination of federal, state and local money, many of the improvements will encourage alternative transportation.

Seven dedicated pathways for bikes and pedestrians will be built through 2013 at a cost of &

36;9.4 million.

Many of the 25 projects totaling &

36;47 million in the next eight years will feature bike and pedestrian pathways.

A Jacksonville bypass, in the discussion phase, would take traffic flowing into town along a new road that would connect with Old Stage Road.

This bypass, like the Highway 62 plan, will require a coordinated effort among cities, the county, the Oregon Department of Transportation and federal transportation agencies.

Art Anderson, ODOT area manager, said a bypass or improvement of the existing Highway 62 route won't be funded until an environmental impact statement is completed.

However, there is about &

36;38 million in state and federal funds that would likely pay for an overpass over Highway 62 at Poplar Drive by Fred Meyer, which will help relieve some congestion and could eventually tie into a bypass.

Even though a bypass route hasn't been chosen yet, ODOT already owns much of the old Medco Haul Road, adjacent to the airport, which would cut down on the cost of purchasing rights of way along Highway 62.

If a bypass were built, motorists would be able to get on at three points ' Poplar Drive, Vilas Road and White City ' to maximize the efficiency of the expressway, he said.

Anderson said the north Medford interchange project, scheduled for completion this October, would dovetail nicely with the possible four-lane bypass.

Anderson said an expressway from Highway 140 to Blackwell Road could cost up to &

36;100 million.

But the county and ODOT have been working out a way to get a cheaper alternative that would wean some of the traffic off Highway 62.

straightening out some of the sharper curves, rebuilding bridges, widening portions of the highway and creating an interchange at Seven Oaks north of Central Point, the county would effectively get a reasonable bypass route.

Anderson said it will cost about &

36;18.5 million to make all the changes, and &

36;11.6 million has already been earmarked for many of the projects, which could be completed by the end of the decade.

Major unfunded projects

Highway 62 Expressway ' a four-lane highway that would provide an alternative route around Highway 62.

Highway 140 extension to Seven Oaks Interchange ' a freight route that would alleviate congestion on Highway 62.

Jacksonville bypass ' an alternative route around the town to alleviate traffic, particularly truck traffic. (Current estimates are about &

36;26 million).

Highway 62 streetscape ' improvement of east-west traffic through White City, also making access easier for pedestrians and cyclists.

South Stage Road overpass ' connection between Highway 99 and North Phoenix Road.

Projects that will cost &

36;47 million through 2013:

Avenue A ' a rural two-lane connector from Atlantic to Kershaw. &

36;800,000.

Agate Road ' upgrade to industrial route from Highway 62 to Avenue G. &

36;1.5 million.

Antelope Road ' new traffic signal at Agate Road. &

36;380,000.

Antelope Road ' widen to five-lane road from Table Rock Road to Seventh Street in White City. &

36;2.88 million.

Atlantic Avenue ' upgrades from Avenue A to Avenue G. &

36;2.6 million.

Avenue G ' upgrade to industrial collector street from Agate to Kirtland roads. &

36;2 million.

Avenue G ' upgrade to three-lane road from Highway 62 to Atlantic Avenue. &

36;2.6 million.

Avenue H ' upgrade to urban standard route from Wilson Way to the White City urban unincorporated boundary. &

36;400,000.

Beall Lane ' upgrade to three lanes with bike path from Highway 99 to Merriman Road. &

36;1.12 million.

Fern Valley Road ' widen bridge over Bear Creek. &

36;8.56 million.

Foothill Road ' create a two-lane rural thoroughfare from Corey Road to Atlantic Avenue. &

36;1.5 million.

Highway 140 ' install advance warning beacon at intersection at Kershaw Road. &

36;430,000.

Highway 238 ' improve the bee corner intersection. &

36;2.86 million.

Highway 238 ' widen with bike paths from North Ross Road to Old Highway 238. &

36;6.95 million.

Highway 62 ' realign and install signals at the Agate Road intersection. &

36;660,000.

Highway 62 ' widen approaches to Highway 140. &

36;500,000.

West Main Street ' upgrade to a three-lane urban thoroughfare from Oak Grove Road to Elm Street. &

36;1.6 million.

Leigh Way ' new rural arterial connection from Agate to Antelope roads. &

36;1.75 million.

Lozier Lane ' upgrade to three-lane route from Stewart Avenue to West Main Street. &

36;1.28 million.

North Ross Lane ' upgrade to three lanes from McAndrews to Rossanley roads. &

36;1.5 million.

Stewart Avenue ' upgrade to three lanes from Hull to Thomas roads. &

36;500,000.

Table Rock Road ' widen to five lanes from Wilson to Antelope roads. &

36;2.94 million.

Table Rock Road ' upgrade to three lanes from Biddle Road to Bear Creek. &

36;1.12 million.

Table Rock Road ' new traffic signal at Wilson Road intersection. &

36;230,000.

Pine Street ' upgrade to three lanes from Haskell Street to Hanley, Central Point. &

36;730,000.

Highway 140 extension. Improve the highway to Interstate 5 for freight vehicles. No cost estimate.

Projects scheduled for &

36;20 million in funding from 2014 to 2023. Many include bike lanes and sidewalks:

Beall Lane ' new traffic signal at Bursell Road intersection. &

36;230,000.

Fern Valley Road ' new traffic signal at North Phoenix Road. &

36;380,000.

Foothill Road ' widen to three lanes from McAndrews to Delta Waters roads. &

36;2.24 million.

Foothill Road ' widen to three lanes from Hillcrest to McAndrews roads. &

36;3.02 million.

Hanley Road ' widen to three lanes from Beall Road to Pine Street. &

36;750,000.

Kings Highway ' widen to three lanes from South Stage Road to the Medford urban-growth boundary. &

36;250,000.

Lakeview Drive ' two-lane rural route from Lakeview Drive to McLoughlin Road. &

36;1.39 million.

South Valley View Road ' widen to five lanes from Interstate 5 to Highway 99. &

36;8 million.

Vilas Road ' widen to five lanes from Haul Road to Crater Lake Avenue. &

36;1.6 million.

Highway 140 extension. Improve the highway to Interstate 5 for freight vehicles. &

36;2 million.

Wilson Way ' upgrade to standard road from Avenue H to Dutton. &

36;300,000.

Bicycle and pedestrian projects that will cost &

36;9.4 million through 2013:

Bear Creek Greenway ' complete path from Ashland to Central Point. &

36;4.5 million.

Carpenter Hill Road ' upgrade from Voorhies Road to Coleman Creek Road. &

36;150,000.

East Pine Street ' Add bike lanes and sidewalks from Table Rock to Hamrick roads. &

36;40,000.

White City ' Create east-west pathway for pedestrians and bicycles from 29th Street area to Division Road. &

36;580,000.

Foothill Road ' add shoulders from Delta Waters to Coker Butte roads. &

36;760,000.

Foothill Road ' add shoulders from Coker Butte to Corey roads. &

36;900,000.

Old Stage Road ' bicycle and pedestrian project from Winterbrook Lane to Blackwell roads. &

36;2.5 million.

Other bike and pedestrian projects totaling &

36;9.8 million scheduled from 2014 to 2023:

Bigham Brown ' upgrades from Antelope Road to Eagle Point. &

36;950,000.

Coleman Creek ' upgrades from Pioneer to Voorhies roads. &

36;1.25 million.

Griffin Creek Road ' upgrades from Pioneer to South Stage roads. &

36;1.17 million.

Hillcrest Road ' upgrades from Cherry Lane to Gardner Way. &

36;250,000.

Hull Road ' upgrades from South Stage Road to Stewart Avenue. &

36;400,000.

Pioneer (Phase 1) ' upgrades from Colver Road to Coleman Creek Road. &

36;1.5 million.

Pioneer (Phase 2) ' upgrades from Griffin Creek Road to Carpenter Hill. &

36;1.5 million.

Taylor Road ' upgrades from Old Stage Road to Grant Road. &

36;1 million.

Upton Road ' upgrades from Raymond Way to Gibbon Road. &

36;700,000.

Veterans Affairs domiciliary ' upgrades to Antelope Road. &

36;650,000.

Voorhies Road ' upgrades from Carpenter Road to South Stage Road. &

36;450,000.

Other projects totaling &

36;14.69 million that haven't been funded yet:

Antelope Road ' widen intersection approaches at Highway 62. &

36;600,000.

Eagle Mill Road ' upgrade to a rural route from South Valley View Road to Oak Street. &

36;450,000.

Gibbon Road ' widen to a three-lane urban road from Upton to Table Rock roads. &

36;1.25 million.

Peninger Road ' widen to three lanes with bike lanes and sidewalks from Pine Street to the Expo. &

36;1.28 million.

Rogue River Drive ' upgrade to rural thoroughfare with bike lanes and sidewalks from milepost 5 to Shady Cove (no estimate given).

Sage Road ' widen to three lanes with bike lanes and sidewalks from Posse Lane to Ehrman Way. &

36;1.76 million.

West Antelope Road ' Realign intersection at Kirtland Road to make it easier for the south and west approaches for freight traffic. &

36;700,000.

West Dutton Road ' new two-lane urban route from terminus to Agate. &

36;3.43 million.

Wilson Way ' new two-lane urban route from Avenue G to Avenue F. &

36;1.17 million.

In addition, there are 20 bike and pedestrian path projects totaling &

36;52 million identified throughout the valley.

Relieving traffic congestion along Highway 62, shown in this photograph looking northeast from the Interstate 5 overpass, is among the top priorities of the Jackson County commissioners? 20-year traffic plan. Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell - Mail Tribune Bob Pennell