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Foothill widening project is still happening

Over the last two years or so, I think I have read of widening Foothill Road from Hillcrest to McAndrews to four lanes. So far, I have not seen any activity to indicate this is happening. Am I not remembering correctly or is this project delayed?

— Travis, Eagle Point

No worries. Travis, your memory is fine. But you are indeed correct that the project has been delayed.

Cory Crebbin, public works director for the city of Medford, says progress was stalled for about a year by environmental and historic reviews.

Among other things, the city had to review whether trees along the project area between Hillcrest Road and McAndrews Road are historic — they are, he says — and whether canals in the area are also historic — they're not.

That research was necessary to complete documents required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Medford City Council in August also approved a state-required transportation facility project application that was necessary to start acquiring rights of way and moving utilities. Once all of the NEPA, right of way and utility relocations are complete, the city can put the project out to bid, Crebbin says, which the city hopes to do in the coming year.

The mile-long project was expected to cost $13 million, with the feds kicking in $3 million. It may one day be part of a Phoenix-to-Highway-140 thoroughfare that would provide an alternative to Interstate 5 for north-south traffic in the valley. The pricetag on that full project was put at $70 million, but there are no immediate plans on anything beyond the Hillcrest-to-McAndrews stretch.

Crebbin expects that once the bid is awarded, it will take a couple of years to build, so it would be finished sometime in 2020. He notes that information about the project is updated periodically on the city’s web site at www.ci.medford.or.us/Projects.asp?ProjectID="61"§ionID="8"

— 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. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.