ODOT seeking more feedback on US 199 plan

Hayes Hill, Kerby prioritized

The second virtual open house for Oregon Department of Transportation’s U.S. 199 Corridor Plan was made accessible Wednesday, July 20 and will remain open for viewing and feedback until Tuesday, Aug. 30. To participate in the virtual open house, go to https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/

An in-person open house covering the same content as the virtual open house was held Tuesday, July 26 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the RCC Boys and Girls Club in Kerby.

For those unfamiliar with the US 199 Corridor Plan, ODOT explains the project background as follows:
“The purpose of the US 199 Corridor Plan is to evaluate the US 199 corridor from the Applegate River to the California border, excluding the City of Cave Junction, to identify options to improve mobility and safety performance for all users of the highway. This corridor was identified by ODOT and Josephine County as an area with a high frequency of fatal and severe crashes. In addition, the County’s recent Transportation System Plan Update identified the needs for more facilities for people walking and biking in the rural communities.

“The project was initiated by ODOT in spring 2021. Since then, the project team has evaluated the existing conditions of the highway, developed projects to address these needs, and created a Draft Corridor Plan. Your input into the last open house helped inform our understanding of the corridor needs and directly affected the projects identified in the Plan. Thank you!”
The virtual open house is presented in three segments: Broad Corridor Strategies – Context Zones; Location Specific Strategies; and Implementation.
ODOT found that “there are similar crash patterns occurring across the corridor in areas with similar contexts.”

“There are more run-off-the-road and head-on crashes at curves, for instance, while there are more rear-end, turning movement, and bicycle or pedestrian crashes within communities.”

The following context zones were identified by ODOT investigators, as well as strategies to promote safety in each respective scenario:
-Unincorporated communities (Wilderville, Wonder, Selma, Kerby, and O’Brien)
-Define community limits
-Evaluate intersections within the communities to identify opportunities to reduce speeds and reduce potential conflicts

-Transition areas between rural area and communities
-Increase awareness of context and speed changes with gateway features and a change in roadway environment
-Rural development
-Provide facilities for people walking and biking
-Evaluate private driveways for delineation and possible consolidation opportunities
-Rural highway
-Delineate the corridor and increase maintenance activities as needed to maintain delineation, signage and pavement markings
-Passing lanes
-Evaluate the benefit of additional opportunities to pass slower vehicles
-Increase opportunity for recovery / provide opportunity for recovery after lane departure
-Promote lane discipline to encourage drivers to stay in their lanes

The ODOT team also emphasized that education and traffic law enforcement are critical pieces of ensuring safety on Redwood Hwy.

“A comprehensive approach to reducing fatal and severe crashes along the study corridor must extend beyond physical roadway projects to include policies, education, and enforcement,” according to ODOT. “Educational campaigns and enforcement should encourage changing the behaviors the project team identified as associated with fatal and severe injury crashes, including speeding and impaired driving.”

In addition to identifying strategies that could improve safety on the entirety of the Redwood Hwy corridor, ODOT divided the corridor into 17 segments of focus – starting with Riverbanks Rd just south of Grants Pass and ending at the Oregon-California border – and recommended specific actions be taken for each one.

According to ODOT, “The team created resources for each segment that identify background information including the priority, a segment description, crash statistic, a map of crashes, implementation considerations and challenges, and details about each recommended treatment, as well as a map identifying each treatment recommended for the segment. The priorities are indicated through Tier I, II, and III, with Tier I being the highest priority for implementation and Tier III being the lowest priority for implementation. The team prioritized each segment based on prior crash trends.” Data for crashes was derived from 2015-2018, along with fatal crashes in 2019.

Of the 17 segments, five were rated Tier I: Riverbanks Rd (15 crashes, 4 severe); Hayes Hill (42 crashes, 5 severe); South of Selma (24 crashes, 2 severe, 3 fatal); Reeves Creek Rd (17 crashes, 1 severe, 4 fatal); and Kerby (49 crashes, 2 severe, 3 fatal).

Suggestions varied based on specific characteristics of the segments, such as topography, visibility and frequency of intersections and curves.

Common recommendations were intersection lighting, shoulder widening, speed feedback signs, community gateway signage, and the installation of guardrails, medians, curbs, gutters and bike lanes.
Less common and more expensive project proposals included roundabouts in select areas such as Selma and south of Cave Junction, adding additional turn lanes, or completely realigning the way certain roads intersect with the highway.

The open house asks viewers to review the location-specific strategies with a set of questions in mind:
*Are there any areas of concern along the corridor that have not been captured through the strategies for each context zone or location specific recommendations? Remember to note which locations!

*Were there any segments that need additional detail or that are missing relevant information? What would you like to see captured?

*Do you disagree with any of the priorities (Tier I, II, III) as shown? Which locations do you disagree with, and why?
*Do you have any other comments?
*There is a survey at the end of the virtual open house web page that the ODOT team encourages you to take.
If you have any questions about the US 199 Corridor Plan, email ODOT project manager Thomas Guevara: Thomas.Guevara@odot.state.or.us.