Are there plans to ease congestion at exit 27?
Overall, the new south Medford interchange is an enormous improvement over what we had before, but there is one problem that causes me headaches every day. Between 7:30 and 8 a.m., traffic frequently backs up onto the freeway because so many people are headed to work at the hospital and medical offices.
Even though there are two left-turn lanes, everyone jams into the rightmost of the two because they need to be in that lane to make the right turn onto Barnett. My work is in the other direction, but I get stuck in this mess because there is no way to get past all those cars and into my turn lane.
I have almost been hit several times on the freeway when I am stopped behind a line of cars trying to get off, and even though I keep leaving earlier and earlier for work, sometimes it is such a mess it makes me late. Are there any plans to do something about this?
— Cami, via email
Have you seen the movie "Office Space," Cami? If you haven't, the first few minutes show the main character switching back and forth between traffic lanes in morning bumper-to-bumper traffic and not gaining any ground. Sounds like you can identify a bit.
We talked to the Oregon Department of Transportation about your grievances. There are not any plans for further improvements right now.
ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming agreed that the south Medford interchange is a "vast" improvement over the old one. That said, it wasn't intended to solve all the area's transportation woes.
The morning backup you're caught up in is based on the growing number of vehicles heading to work or medical appointments prior to 8 a.m. ODOT officials said they have maximized the signal timing to make sure they get as many people through as they can.
Simply put — and this is likely not a recommendation you wanted — adjusting your travel time by 10 or 15 minutes earlier can make a world of difference.
"There may be some additional relief once the Phoenix interchange is complete for those traveling from Talent and Ashland, since they could come in on North Phoenix Road," Leaming said.
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