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Road work near Crater High should start soon

What is with the “construction zone” on Highway 99 in the area south of Crater High School? They put up the barricades in late 2017 (with a 25 mph speed limit) and nothing has happened since. I drive the road daily, so I can see there is nothing happening. Is it set up to be some kind of a speed trap?

— Chris E.

After clearing some unexpected hurdles, they should be getting started pretty soon, Chris.

Knife River, the primary contractor, is preparing the area for subcontractors to build a rail crossing, traffic signal and new intersection, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The project’s cost is about $2.4 million.

The work, which officials say should be completed by the end of the year, will provide another access point to and from Highway 99 for the nearby Twin Creeks development. It also should alleviate congestion on Pine Street and offer a safer route for students and motorists in the immediate area to get to the high school, according to ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming.

The longtime lull in activity you noticed happened because utilities in the public right of way initially escaped the attention of a consultant during front end work on the project. There’s a large water main that goes through there, along with a bundle of underground fiber optics, Leaming said. We don’t need to tell you that could have been a huge problem if construction crews hadn’t known those locations. That work has since been completed, however, and work should soon be underway.

“That’s something I think a lot of people lose sight of on our projects, in the sense that the first group to hit the beach before the project is the utility locates,” Leaming said.

ODOT is overseeing the project and administering the federal funds to pay for it for the city of Central Point, Leaming said.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.