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Crews start big roundabout on Hwy. 140

Construction began Monday on a massive $3.4 million roundabout next to Highway 140 in White City, one of the key projects to create a better route through east Medford known as the “mega corridor.”

Jackson County already began another $2.5 million project that will connect Foothill Road to the roundabout. Foothill currently ends at Corey Road.

The roundabout, built by JRT of Oakland, Oregon, should be finished by October, and Jackson County’s project should be finished sometime in mid-summer.

When completed, both projects will make an easy connection from Highway 140 or Highway 62 to Foothill Road and will pave the way for an easier route through east Medford. Foothill eventually should be improved from Phoenix to White City, and Medford officials already have plans underway to widen the roadway through the city, referred to as a mega corridor that could serve as an alternative route to Interstate 5.

A roundabout was chosen because it’s a quicker and safer alternative to a traffic signal at Highway 140 and Atlantic Avenue.

“It will be different than what a lot of people are used to,” said Gary Leaming, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. “It will save time and prevent injuries.”

He said there are already six similar-sized roundabouts in other areas of the states that are designed to slow traffic, allow easy access for semi-trucks and prevent catastrophic accidents.

Unlike the smaller Highland Avenue and Siskiyou Boulevard roundabout in Medford, the Highway 140 roundabout is 200 feet in diameter, which will handle the biggest semi-trucks on the road. It will have gentle curves to slow traffic before motorists reach the traffic circle. The roundabout will also connect with Atlantic Avenue to the north.

Kershaw Road, which is the access to Highway 140 and is next to the Jackson County Sports Park, will have a barrier to block dangerous left turns onto the highway at this accident-prone intersection. A right turn from Kershaw will still be allowed. Motorists won’t be able to cross Highway 140 from Kershaw once the roundabout is built.

Even though there will be construction going on where Highway 140 and Foothill will meet, most of the work won’t impede traffic much because crews will be creating entirely new stretches of roadway just to the south of the highway.

In 2022, the county plans to smooth out some of the tight curves on Foothill north of Delta Waters and provide better shoulders.

Medford has plans in the works for another roundabout at Springbrook Road and Cedar Links Drive.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneConstruction began Monday on a massive $3.4 million roundabout next to Highway 140 in White City, one of the key projects to create a better route through east Medford known as the “mega corridor.”