REDMOND, OR -- Work is underway on a $450,000 project expected to improve safety at one of the Redmond's most dangerous intersections. Several deadly crashes have occurred on Highway 126 at SW 35th, at the western edge of Redmond, in recent years.
City Manager Keith Witcosky says many of those involve vehicles stopped on the highway, waiting to make a left turn. He says they've made some changes in recent months, "We’ve tried to do some interim measures, such as putting flashing lights, trying to determine where you put a speed sign so people aren’t just jetting off west toward Sisters when they see the mountains, and conversely not slowing down when they enter a residential area. So, we’ve got left turn lanes that’ll be at that intersection." Click HERE to read more about the work.
Witcosky acknowledges widening the road and adding turn lanes won't prevent every crash, but he believes they’re a step in the right direction. "A lot of the accidents are caused by people being either rear-ended or trying to cut around cars that are taking a left. So, the dedicated turn lanes will help a little bit. It doesn’t help the folks that are trying to cross 35th to the north or the south. So, we’re monitoring the growth in the neighborhoods – the Obsidian Trails and the Obsidian development." If those nearby housing developments substantially increase traffic volumes on the highway, Witcosky says the Oregon Department of Transportation could agree to putting in a signal at 35th. "We have to work in concert with ODOT on determining things like when a traffic signal is appropriate. And, unfortunately right now, the metrics in terms of traffic don’t justify it. But, we’re hoping that the left turn lanes that’ll be in place by October will make it a bit safer and then we’ll keep working towards a signalized intersection."
Work on the left turn lanes is expected to be completed by October. Click HERE
to listen to our full conversation with Redmond City Manager Keith Witcosky, or visit our Podcast Page.