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Increased traffic patrols coming to Redwood Highway Memorial Day weekend

Rogue Valley residents who plan to take to Highway 199 this long weekend will be joined by beefed-up Oregon State Police patrols.

The boost to patrols will last through the summer, according to a news release. OSP officials hope its increased presence will encourage drivers to travel more carefully.

"This holiday weekend we urge drivers to be focused and aware," Oregon Department of Transportation interim district manager Jeremiah Griffin said in the release. "Our families live here, so we urge others to drive like their families live here, too."

Highway 199’s Oregon stretch, a section just shy of 42 miles in length that runs from Grants Pass to the California border, has been the scene for many fatal crashes. Three people have died in highway crashes since Jan. 1, and eight others died on the highway in 2020, according to ODOT.

Between 2011 and 2015, ODOT recorded 24 deaths on Highway 199, with 17 more from 2016 to 2018.

OSP troopers also keep busy pulling drivers over on the road. From May 2020 through the end of April 2021, the agency made 3,525 traffic stops, with nearly 300 in the 7-mile safety corridor between Cave Junction and Selma, the news release said. Troopers issued more than 100 speeding tickets.

“This is just a slice of what we see every day on Redwood Highway,” said OSP Lt. Stephanie Bigman. “We’re asking that you please drive responsibly: wear your seatbelt, drive the speed limit, and don’t drive drunk, drugged or distracted. Experience shows you can’t afford to make a mistake on this highway.”