WHITE CITY, Ore. -- Within the last week, Highway 140 at Kershaw saw two crashes. One was fatal, killing a Southern California couple. Oregon Department of Transportation said that intersection actually saw a more crashes prior to 2006 but since it's added these flashing lights, fatal crashes and crashes in general have gone down.
From 2000 to 2005 Highway 140 at Kershaw Road saw three fatal crashes. ODOT said since those flashing red and yellow lights were added in 2006, that intersection has gotten safer.
Gary says: "Really since then we haven't had any fatalities at that intersection until last May with the motorcyclist," said ODOT Spokesman Gary Leaming.
"Up until last summer, we had no fatals. Have we had a number of accidents in that intersection? Yes," added Sergeant Jeff Proulx with Oregon State Police.
From 2007- 2016 the intersection saw 34 total crashes. That May 2017 crash where a young motorcyclist died was the first fatal crash in 10 years and not the last fatal crash of 2017. During the last week of December, a Southern California couple also died at the intersection. Tuesday, a motorcyclist was hit and taken to the hospital. OSP said she is alive but has a broken leg. To help reduce the number of crashes, ODOT plans to add a roundabout at the intersection in 2020.
"This roundabout will be larger, it will be able to accommodate commercial trucks, but it will keep traffic moving and will be a lot safer and hopefully reduce fatalities at the roundabout," Leaming said.
Some say change needs to come to the intersection sooner. Tomi Massey lives in Eagle Point. He drives along Highway 140 daily and said something needs to be done to make the Kershaw Road intersection safer.
"Knowing that my girlfriend comes through here with our toddler every single day multiple times a day is worrisome. There's a lot of fog out here and people just don't care to slow down so whatever happens I would like to see a solution," said Massey.
Leaming said ODOT is currently looking at some short-term solutions to keep drivers safe before the 2020 roundabout is added.
Those potential solutions are lowering the speed limit, modifying the stop signs with flashing lights so drivers can see them better and even not having Kershaw accessible all together.
"Some short-term solutions are blocking the intersection off completely to crossing traffic on Kershaw road, across the highway, to warning beacons for Highway 140 traffic that will alert vehicles that there are vehicles wanting to cross there," Leaming added.
Right now it is collecting some data to determine which of those solutions would work best. ODOT hopes to get those recommendations back sometime next week. ODOT also hopes to have one of those short-term solutions in place in the upcoming months.