MEDFORD, Ore.-- City of Medford crews turned on the new traffic signal at Crater Lake Avenue and Owen Drive at four Thursday morning. For the last 5 years, Medford's Department of Public Works knew something had to be done at the intersection. Data shows it was the most dangerous intersection in the city in 2017. There were 12 crashes that year. With the amount of cars that pass through, the department said the crash rate was too high.
Express Employment Professionals is on the corner. Employees need to drive through that intersection in order to get to and from work. They hear accidents all the time. The owner, Nikki Jones, was in one of the 12 back in 2017.
"It totalled my car. I had months and months of physical therapy afterwards," said Jones. "Since then, I've had near misses. We've seen several accidents happen since then. Cars just crunching into each other. Everyone is in a hurry. Plus, it's hard to see."
At first, Public Works was thinking about a two-lane roundabout. Workers said it would have cost more in the long run. They added Medford just isn't ready for a two-lane roundabount. Theres only one traffic circle in the entire city and it's only one lane. It's on Highland Drive and Siskiyou Blvd. Workers said drivers still struggle navigating it.
This is just one of many safety improvement projects Medford has planned. You can check out the City of Medford's 20-year Transportation System Plan here.