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How does a South Stage overpass help Barnett?

Can you help me understand how building the connector between North Phoenix Road and South Stage Road, crossing Interstate 5, will help ease congestion on Barnett Road if the overpass doesn’t have on- and off-ramps to the freeway?

— Pim R., via email

Well, Pim, we’re not transportation experts here at Since You Asked headquarters, but we’ll try to come up with a satisfactory answer.

Barnett Road is currently a fairly busy street but isn’t particularly difficult to drive on most days.

However, under Medford’s current plans for expansion, another 1,000 houses will be built in the southeast area in the not too distant future. Also, there will be even more expansion in the future with a light industrial area planned just south of Rogue Valley Manor. Phoenix also has expansion plans for the east side of the freeway.

Transportation officials are looking at widening Foothill and North Phoenix roads to provide a bypass of sorts for Interstate 5.

All this development will potentially funnel more traffic to Barnett and from there west across Interstate 5.

To help alleviate the projected congestion, transportation officials are looking at creating another east-west corridor that will link Highway 99 and North Phoenix Road.

The idea of a South Stage overpass has been discussed for at least 20 years in this area.

Some have argued that if an overpass is built, it should also have ramps connecting it to I-5, similar to the interchange at south Medford. However, transportation officials don’t like having two interchanges so close together, so it’s likely that idea won’t get much traction.

Pim, we’re hoping transportation officials eventually provide numbers that show how much Barnett will be impacted by all this new development.

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.