WHITE CITY, Ore. -- Jackson County Roads is planning to extend Foothill road past Corey Road. Right now, the two roads come together as a T-intersection. Drivers need to turn right onto Corey Road, and then left onto Kershaw Road in order to reach Highway 140. This extension intends to eliminate that and allow drivers to continue straight on Foothill Road to Highway 140. At that new intersection, Oregon Department of Transportation plans to add a highway-style roundabout at the same time.
"They're very effective in high speed rural intersections by slowing traffic down and easing that traffic through,” said ODOT spokesperson Gary Leaming.
Further down the road at the Kershaw Road/Highway 140 intersection, ODOT will add a barrier blocks drivers on Kershaw Road from jumping across Highway 140. Instead, they will only be able to turn right. Drivers on the highway will be able to turn left onto Kershaw Road or continue straight down to Highway 62. Over the years, the community has asked for a traffic light instead of the yellow flashing lights and the stop signs but ODOT said that will make the road even more dangerous.
"When we put in a signal on high speed rural highways that are 55mph what we're finding is they are very unsafe,” added Leaming. “We're trading crashes and fatalities in those locations."
With a signal, Leaming said that intersection would see more serious rear-end accidents instead of serious T-bone crashes. ODOT adds the roundabout and Kershaw intersection modification will help decrease the number of fatal crashes the intersection has seen by nearly 100 percent. It will also reduce delay and emissions. Trucks will be able to get around the traffic circle.
Jackson County Roads and ODOT hope to have all of the projects completed by fall 2020.