MADRAS, OR -- Changes could be coming to highways 97 and 26 on the south end of Madras. Officials from the city and Oregon Department of Transportation will host an open house Thursday to talk about potential plans.
ODOT’s Cody Franz says there’s no funding for any projects yet, but they want to hear from the public, "To put together some recommendations for future improvements in this part of town. We really just want to get folks’ input on what they’d like to see in their transportation system, as this area starts to grow." He says that growth and increase in traffic, coupled with a history of fatal crashes in the area prompted the need to discuss potential changes. Franz tells KBND News the city of Madras requested ODOT work with local officials to make improvements, "Make sure that things like freight can continue to move through with some reliability. Again, we want to build a roadway that all users - so, whether you walk, bike, roll, drive - you can get that connectivity to get around town, as well as do it safely and reliably."
Thursday’s public meeting is the first of three planned for Madras. "At this open house, they’re going to have the opportunity to really learn what the plan’s goals and objectives are, as well as how the system operates today and how we expect it to operate 20 years from now. So, as the area continues to grow, how we can see more congestion on the roadway, more users," says Franz, "We’re going to kind of refine some ideas and some planning and come back to the community in the fall with some design concepts and say, ‘based on your feedback that we got from the initial one, here’s kind of what we’re thinking. Are we on the right track?’" Another meeting in winter or spring will finalize what’s being called the South Madras Concept Area Refinement Plan.
The open house is Thursday, July 13 from 5-7 p.m. in the Jefferson County Community Wellness Room, inside the county health building at 500 NE A Street, Madras; Suite 102.