With a 2013 construction target looming, ODOT, the City of Medford, Jackson County and key transportation stakeholders are working together to develop a multimodal transportation solution that will reduce congestion and improve safety along Crater Lake Highway (Oregon 62).
No one disputes the heavy traffic and congestion issues on the Highway 62 corridor in Medford.
Earlier this year the project teams included the last of three roadway options to get the expressway from Vilas Road to Corey Road. Those three options will be studied in the federally-required environmental document, known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The expressway would reduce travel time by more than half of what it takes to travel the same distance on Highway 62 today.
According to ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever, multimodal options such as partnerships with Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) will be studied to see how enhancing transit runs can help reduce daily trips on the Highway 62 corridor.
Unit 1 of the Highway 62 Corridor project improved the north Medford interchange, realigning ramps, reducing congestion and improving safety around I-5 exit 30.
Unit 2 – a $140 million project – would build a 4.5-mile access controlled expressway that parallels the Old Medco Haul Road between White City and Medford (see maps on page 15).
Earlier this year the expressway was selected for the federally-required environmental document, known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The expressway would reduce travel time by more than half of what it takes to travel the same distance on Highway 62 today.
According to ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever, the environmental document will study multimodal options such as partnerships with the Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) to see how enhancing transit runs can help reduce daily trips on the Highway 62 corridor.
“With fewer vehicles traveling on the existing Highway 62 we can look at ways to make the service corridor more multi modal friendly,” said Leever. “There are opportunities to expand bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the mainline and other major routes that cross the highway, like Vilas Road.
“At the same time, there are ways to enhance transit runs to reduce the 45,000 daily trips on Highway 62 we see on average today.”
A seven-mile section of Highway 62 (mile post 0.4 to 7.4) was identified in a report titled, “Oregon’s 50 Worst Highway, Transit and Multimodal chokepoints.” Released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization, the May 2010 report stated that chokepoints “impede local, regional or interstate travel, diminish the quality of life of residents and visitors, reduce economic competitiveness and stifle economic growth and recovery by hampering commuting, commerce and other travel.”
The 2009 Jobs and Transportation Act dedicated $100 million toward the project; however local funds and support are still needed to make the project a reality.
“We are looking for a solution that addresses transit, bicycles, and pedestrians, too, while providing a solid foundation for a Unit 3 project in the future,” said Anderson. “There are no perfect solutions for transportation challenges of this size.
“All of the transportation stakeholders in the Medford area will need to work together in order to improve the transportation challenges on Highway 62.”
More information is available online at www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.