REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors unanimously approved a $447,750 contract, Tuesday night, to add left turn lanes to Highway 126 at SW 35th Street, at the western city limits. City Engineer Mike Caccavano says the goal is to improve safety at an intersection that’s seen a number of serious – some fatal – crashes in recent years. "Over a three-year period, where we analyzed accident history, 10 out of the 13 significant collisions there were rear-end collisions; and most of them westbound."
Caccavano tells KBND News, "They did traffic studies. We looked to see what could be safety problems and capacity problems at this intersection. And then we look at our Master Plan, which has two projects that impact this intersection. One is to widen Highway 126 from 27th to 35th to add lanes, including the turn lanes. And, also to put a signal there, eventually." There are two new housing developments slated for the area, but he says the intersection doesn’t yet meet the threshold for a traffic light and the city is limited on what else it can do because of the power substation located on the northwest corner.
A mother of two was killed in December, when she turned left on to the Highway from 35th, in front of another vehicle. Caccavano admits this project won’t prevent that type of crash, but says this is just an interim fix. "We got close to the point where we triggered the need for a traffic signal, but we’re not there yet. So that is going to be a longer term solution – some kind of further intersection control."
Caccavano says work should begin by the end of June. "Most of the widening is off of the north side. It’ll have significant impact on 35th street as it intersects; that’ll be the construction access. This is just on the north side; the south side should be open most of the time. So, there will be time when there’s detours. There will be time when there’s flagging on the highway." The new turn lanes should be done by the end of October.