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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 188417

Reported Deaths: 2509
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah37445577
Washington24988229
Marion21516303
Clackamas16869209
Lane12607145
Jackson10613131
Deschutes837073
Umatilla811284
Linn468766
Yamhill434875
Klamath418660
Polk365752
Malheur348561
Josephine328167
Douglas319270
Benton298519
Jefferson214633
Coos203932
Columbia167726
Union143923
Lincoln136520
Wasco136228
Hood River117230
Morrow109715
Crook103120
Clatsop9638
Baker92714
Curry6369
Tillamook6313
Grant4984
Lake4427
Harney3328
Wallowa1785
Sherman581
Gilliam571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3750644

Reported Deaths: 62070
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123424223957
Riverside2988724576
San Bernardino2962574668
San Diego2770973716
Orange2705074979
Santa Clara1185932073
Kern1088221361
Sacramento1035951667
Fresno1014511677
Alameda873721539
Ventura807761009
San Joaquin727241382
Contra Costa68212799
Stanislaus616811050
Tulare49496837
Monterey43490381
San Mateo41708567
San Francisco36550541
Santa Barbara34250453
Solano32642249
Merced31682454
Sonoma29921318
Imperial28276720
Kings22911246
Placer22386290
San Luis Obispo21222260
Madera16418242
Santa Cruz16029207
Marin14000228
Yolo13820208
Shasta11987225
Butte11883198
El Dorado10067110
Napa982481
Sutter9386111
Yuba620944
San Benito604063
Lassen569324
Tehama553858
Nevada465675
Tuolumne411564
Mendocino405548
Humboldt390339
Amador365047
Lake345443
Glenn237925
Colusa222116
Siskiyou213421
Calaveras210853
Inyo142438
Del Norte13537
Mono12784
Plumas7046
Modoc4934
Mariposa4457
Trinity3995
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned440
Medford
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