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Rocky road ahead?

A plan to widen Foothill Road from Hillcrest to McAndrews roads has raised alarms from nearby residents who think the project will be a major disruption to their properties.

"When Foothill Road is widened, it will place our well just 20-30 feet from the street," wrote Foothill residents Bill and Gwyn Reen in a May 11 letter to the city. "Major construction will disrupt surface and ground water, which significantly impacts water flow."

Neighbors are concerned about access to their properties, as well as noise, decreased property values and impacts to farming, but so far they have shown a willingness to work with city officials.

The Medford City Council Thursday will consider a resolution approving construction along a 5,100-foot stretch of Foothill. The project, funded through state and federal grants, is budgeted at $13 million and is part of a long-range plan to widen Foothill Road to Highway 140. City officials anticipate the project could be completed toward the end of 2019.

The Reens are worried their well could become contaminated by the road work, and they are also concerned that access to their properties would be restricted by the four-lane road.

They have asked the city to provide city water and sewer. The Reens say the relocation of their driveway will ruin their front yard, and they say something needs to be done to reduce noise from the new road.

Representatives from Roxy Knoll LLC say the new road will have a significant impact on their property, which produces grapes, hay and grain. Roxy Knoll has properties on both sides of the road, so the ability to move farm equipment back and forth is critical to the operation.

Also, its cattle operation will not be viable for two years because of the lack of fencing when the roadway project gets underway.

"During construction of the road, there will be no fence, and we will be unable to lease for two years, so we will have a loss of income," said Emily Mostue of Rocky Knoll.

City officials have met with property owners to discuss their concerns and have suggested installing U-turns in the roadway, a frontage road to improve access to properties and other potential solutions.

Medford Public Works, according to city documents, still wants to relocate the Reens' driveway as part of the widening project.

Stuart Foster, attorney for the Reens, sent the City Council a letter July 6 stating, "The driveway as proposed by Public Works constitutes a serious safety hazard and a liability issue for the city and is unreasonable access to the property."

The planned roadway project will have a significant impact on the surrounding area for much of the two-year work period.

The right-of-way, which is currently 60 feet wide, would be widened from 88 to 109.5 feet.

To build the new roadway, it will require acquisition of 110,000 square feet from 12 tax lots, as well as construction easements of 90,000 square feet.

City planners recommended a median planter strip instead of a concrete barrier because it would be more in keeping with future plans for the area. Public Works officials estimated that would cost an additional $650,000 for the project.

In addition to the roadway, the project would have 5- to 7-foot-wide sidewalks on the east side and a 10-foot-wide, multi-use path on the west side. A similar multi-use path would be built on the east side along the Hillcrest Orchard property.

Bike lanes would be 6 feet wide with a 3-foot-wide buffer.

Traffic signals would be installed at McAndrews Road interchange ramps.

Foothill Road is seen by transportation officials as a potential alternative route to Interstate 5.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Foothills Road, seen here looking south from the McAndrews Road overpass, is scheduled to be widened, and some neighbors are concerned about the impacts of the project. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]