MADRAS, OR -- A recent deadly crash on Highway 97, near Madras, has highlighted concerns over the dangers associated with that stretch of roadway. A Madras woman has been working to improve safety for years.
Lynette Gray says the stretch of highway south of Madras needs work. "I've heard horrific stories since I moved over here in 2001. I drove to Redmond and I was just appalled at the lack of signage saying there's even a crossing ahead across the highway. And, even where the accident was at Bear Drive, there's no sign saying there's a left turn coming up."
Gray set up a Friends of Highway 97 Facebook page, to get community support for a variety of safety measures. She tells KBND News, "We want to slow it back on between here and Terrebonne. The fact that there are 80+ places to turn onto a field or a street, road, a driveway; there's 80+ of those just, going both directions, between here and Terrebonne, where people literally stop in the highway to turn left."
She's calling on state highway officials to designate the highway between Madras and Terrebonne a Safety Corridor, where speeds are limited to 55 MPH. "This is just a huge Bermuda Triangle of things going on here that are not right. I have reports of people passing other people in unsafe zones, since the speed limit changed, in solid lane areas, going 80 MPH. 'This sign says I can go 65, so I'm going to just be a freeway driver and I'm going to pass all these idiots.' So dangerous."
Jefferson County Commissioners are scheduled to meet with the Oregon Department of Transportation to discuss safety issues, on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.