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Rogue Valley Expressway now open

ODOT says the four-lane Rogue Valley Expressway is now open.

Posted: Apr 26, 2019 6:54 PM
Updated: May 1, 2019 2:49 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says the four-lane Rogue Valley Expressway is now open.

The new roadway stretches from Coker Butte and Vilas Roads, connecting to an intersection south of White City. The idea of the road started in the late 1990's, but construction didn't begin until 2016. All that is left includes adding the stripes on the road, signs, gates and turning on the lights at the intersection. However, none of these tasks should cause any delays because some of it can be completed after the road is open if needed.

The goal of this project was to enhance safety and reduce congestion on Crater Lake Highway.

"So if you time this out, it'll save about five minutes one way," said Gary Leaming, public information officer for ODOT. "So if you do the math it's going to save hundreds of hours every day for the people who drive this."

Leaming actually timed out exactly how much time this will save Rogue Valley drivers altogether and it's more than 750 hours a day.
He also said a lot of high crash locations along HWY 62 will be illuminated with this expressway. In addition, this road will be much safer for drivers. 

Several drivers told NewsWatch12 they've been looking forward to the expressway opening since 2016 when construction first started. 

Michael Strozenski, Number One Appliances owner, drives on HWY 62 every day.

"I drive too much every day, so any little bit helps. I try to catch all the green lights along the way, but I can't say that always happens," he said. 

He drives about 200 miles every day. 

"I drive around everywhere fixing everybody's stuff," Strozenski said. "I live in my truck, so to speak."

He says sometimes he has to leave for a job an hour early because the traffic on HWY 62 usually slows him down. Strozenski said it's worse in the morning and evenings will commuters are on their way to work or on their way home from work. His work schedule has him driving around the Rogue Valley all day. 

"Jobs aren't in just one location, some are in Ashand, some are in Grants Pass and a lot of them around Medford, but if we can find faster ways to get there that means I'll be able to help more people," Strozenski said.

He said he's watched the Rogue Valley grow in the last eight years and he's been looking forward to this expressway opening in hopes of saving time in between jobs. 

Leaming said 30,000 drivers use Highway 62 every day, and about 30 percent of those drivers would benefit from the expressway. 

"It's an incredible amount of time, it doesn't seem like it, five minutes doesn't seem like a lot, but reality it is a lot when you add time, saved money saved and fuel," Leaming said. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
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Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4850807

Reported Deaths: 71341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148419226540
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3673614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
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Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
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Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
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Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
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