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Expressway expected to open in Feb.

What is the latest news on the Highway 62 project?

— Morgan H.

The Highway 62 bypass project is largely complete, Morgan, but final details remain before the new road becomes a driving reality for commuters.

The Rogue Valley Expressway will open well after Santa Claus’ arrival — likely sometime in February, said Oregon Department of Transportation Spokesman Gary Leaming.

“We’re getting there,” Leaming said last week.

Striping and signage make up most of the remaining work at the south end of the project, with a bit more construction work still ahead at the north end.

You’ve probably noticed that the construction in areas of Highway 62, especially on the south end, is complete, though some construction barrels remain to keep northbound travelers from veering onto the left lane that will eventually take them 4-and-a-half miles before hitting the highway again over Coker Butte Road.

Leaming said the process has been “fairly seamless.”

“Everything else is out of traffic and really going smoothly,” he said.

If you’re extra curious about what driving the expressway will feel like, Morgan, you can get a sneak preview in a drive-through video ODOT published Nov. 26. Filter out all the construction vehicles and materials, and you’ll be able to clearly picture what it would be like to veer off on the southbound expressway if you’re traveling from White City down to Medford, for example.

ODOT said in the video that the completed expressway will cut more than five minutes off a commute between Eagle Point and Medford. The project, which is estimated to cost $400 million, isn’t just aimed at reducing traffic for convenience’s sake: easing congestion along this stretch of Highway 62 is also expected to improve the safety of the intersections, which have above-average crash rates.

The speed limit on the expressway will be 55 mph, and ODOT recommends paying close attention to signs and striping while familiarizing yourself with the new road.

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.

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