“The Josephine County Fairgrounds signal project addresses the high crash rate at that intersection,” said ODOT Project Leader Jayne Randleman. “It is good to see the project is almost finished.
“This particular intersection saw more than its share of rear-end crashes. Traffic was very congested during peak travel times, partially due to the intersection’s close proximity to traffic signals at Ringuette Street and Redwood Avenue.”
Prime contractor Copeland Sand and Gravel of Grants Pass is wrapping up the project’s last phase and punch list, following a brief, planned work stoppage to accommodate the 54th Annual Boatnik celebration.
“Lines and arrows are all that’s left to finish for a project with a decade-long history of discussion and collaboration between ODOT, the city of Grants Pass, Josephine County and local stakeholders,” Randleman said. “It is quite something to think this project has been on the books for nearly a decade.”
After the Fairgrounds signal removal last March, prime contractor Copeland Sand and Gravel worked on sidewalks and new driveways for the businesses on the north side of U.S. 199, including two gas stations and a sports bar.
Project scope includes:
- Extending left-turn lanes on U.S. 199 at Ringuette Street;
- Widening the roadway at the intersection of Redwood Avenue and U.S. 199 to allow U-turns for commercial trucks;
- Adding a crosswalk on the west side of Ringuette Street for pedestrians wanting to traverse U.S. 199;
- Building a new sidewalk from the Fairgrounds entrance to Ringuette Street on the north side of U.S. 199; and
- Adding a left-turn arrow to the existing center lane on Ringuette Street for northbound travel, effectively making a dual left turn, from Ringuette Street to westbound U.S. 199.
On any given day, 40,000 vehicles travel along U.S. 199 from U.S. 101 on the Oregon Coast to Interstate 5, the West Coast’s busiest freight route.
The project was initially designed as a stand alone safety project. Safety improvements focused on the Fairgrounds signal’s close proximity to the Ringuette Street signal, as well as the higher-than-average crash rate associated with the Fairgrounds intersection (an average of 2.5 crashes per month).
ODOT and the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation folded the project into its U.S. 199 Expressway project in 2003, following a series of fatal crashes in the corridor between Midway Avenue and the South Y intersection. The first two phases of the U.S. 199 Expressway project are complete. The third phase, located in the more urban portion between Dowell Road and the South Y intersection, was shelved when the City of Grants Pass and Josephine County withdrew support.
ODOT later revisited the original Fairgrounds Signal safety project, adding improvements for pedestrian connectivity on Ringuette Street.