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Our View: Crossing Bear Creek

Nevada Street may have once included a bridge that crossed Bear Creek, possibly as recently as the 1970s. No one's sure about that, and until the past decade or so, no one really cared. That's changed as Ashland grows, new neighborhoods sprout and main thoroughfares become increasingly clogged.

The city has nearly half of the estimated $5.5 million that will be needed to construct a two-lane bridge over Bear Creek to allow Nevada Street to once again be connected. That would help eliminate the "road-ends-here" nature of the neighborhoods on both sides of the creek.

As it now stands, anyone wishing to cross from Nevada Street near Mountain Avenue to Nevada Street near Oak Street must take Mountain north, cross over Interstate 5, turn onto Eagle Mill Road, cross under Interstate 5 and then follow Oak Street south for about a half mile. The driving distance is about two miles and delivers the driver to a spot that can be a few hundred yards from where he or she started.

That disconnect between northeast Ashland and northwest Ashland cuts off the neighborhoods from each other, cuts off the Mountain Avenue area from the most direct route to Medford and other points north and pushes more traffic onto busy streets and into other neighborhoods.

The city plans to ask the Legislature in 2017 for more transportation funding for the bridge project. Our area legislators should support that request and encourage approval of the relatively small investment that could pay large dividends.