Is Foothill Road widening still happening?
I read the Mail Tribune article about the Vilas Road rebuild project that will cost $4 million. I hadn’t really heard about that project before, but over the years I’ve heard a lot about Medford’s plan to widen Foothill Road north of Hillcrest Road. Whatever happened to that project?
— Darren J., Medford
The Foothill Road project, which is about a mile long, is a much more complicated project than the Vilas Road rebuild, Darren.
It’s taken the city some time to acquire the extra land to widen Foothill to four lanes, with bike lanes, center turn lanes and sidewalks.
Currently Foothill is a two-lane road from Hillcrest to East McAndrews Road, with narrow shoulders.
Final design for the project is underway, and the city is working with local utilities to relocate power poles and other facilities in the proposed route, which is basically preparing the area for full-scale construction.
The city received a $10 million transportation loan from the state for the project, plus another $3 million grant.
Widening Foothill Road is part of a long-range project to widen Foothill from Phoenix to Highway 140, which would allow the road to become something of an alternate route for Interstate 5.
ODOT is going to build a traffic circle or roundabout where Highway 140 meets Foothill. The county plans to upgrade Foothill from Highway 140 to Medford’s border.
So, yes, the project is very much alive, Darren. It’s just taken a bit longer to get to the construction phase than most people expected.
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