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Hwy. 99 changes? It depends where you're at

I read last year that the Oregon Department of Transportation was considering making Highway 99 a 2-lane road with 7-foot shoulders for bikers and pedestrians. My question is this: What consideration are they making for the 16,000 cars that use that road every day? Since I drive that road every day, I can tell you how many people are walking and riding their bikes. With city buses and school buses using 99, it would be a nightmare of traffic jams if that happens.

— Joe, Talent

As a Talent resident, you should know there is a project slated to begin sometime next year in your neck of the woods, Joe, one that covers Highway 99 in Talent south to Ashland.

ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming tells us the highway stretch from the Ashland city limits at the trestle to the Jackson Road intersection down by the coffee stands and car dealerships will be a three-lane section with a center turn lane and bike lanes.

"From there it will be five lanes to the main (South Valley View Road) intersection that connects to I-5," Leaming told us in an email.

The average daily trip count for traffic in the aforementioned stretch is about 16,000, a number you mentioned in your question. However, ODOT officials tell us that number basically halves as you venture from that South Valley View intersection out toward Talent. This section is where the bulk of the work is planned.

From South Valley View Road to Talent Avenue, there will be one southbound lane and two northbound lanes.

From Creel Road to Rapp Road, there will be a three-lane section — including a center turn lane — bike lanes and sidewalks. Another three-lane section is planned between Creel Road and Talent Avenue, also with a center turn lane and bike lanes. No sidewalks, though.

The Highway 99 stretch between Phoenix and Medford is scheduled to remain at five lanes.

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@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.