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Oregon 126: Expressway Management Plan: Overview
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Project Introduction
Built over 40 years ago to serve rural areas, OR 126 can not sufficiently support the level of traffic expected as the Springfield area continues to develop. Planned future developments will increase traffic on OR 126, increasing congestion and the need for new facilities to keep traffic moving. To address facility needs, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), along with the City of Springfield and Lane County, is working on the third phase of the OR 126 Expressway Management Plan (EMP).
 
During this phase of work, the project team will refine conceptual intersection/interchange designs for the OR 126/52nd Street and OR 126/Main Street intersections, and select a preferred design for each location.  The team will also identify access plans, potential local street circulation changes, and other policies intended to enhance the function of the preferred design.
 

What is an Expressway Management Plan?
Oregon 126 is identified as an expressway in the 1999 Oregon Highway Plan.  An expressway is a special road designation that recognizes the importance of a route for freight movement, regional traffic and intrastate travel.
 
An Expressway Management Plan identifies needed improvements to the expressway and strategies to ensure that those public improvements are protected in the long term.  Oregon 126 and its interchanges and intersections were built over 40 years ago, and the highway is not designed to support the level of traffic expected as the Springfield area continues to develop.
 
Phase three of the plan will focus on refining recommendations for the OR 126/52nd Street and OR 126/Main Street areas.  Subsequent phases and the final EMP will provide a long-range plan for OR 126 from Interstate 5 to Main Street (including the Pioneer Parkway, Mohawk Boulevard and 42nd Street interchanges).  The EMP recommendations to develop and manage the expressway will include some combination of the following:

Modernization (Design Concepts)
Modernization refers to increasing expressway capacity and safety by adding new lanes, improving interchanges, widening bridges, replacing at-grade intersections with freeway-style interchanges or improving local circulation with frontage roads. Design concepts will be prepared for the three existing interechanges at Pioneer Parkway, Mohawk Boulevard and 42nd Street as well as the 52nd Street intersection, and Main Street intersection. These concepts include ways to improve the capacity, safety and workability of the interchanges and intersections through construction. The concepts include new or improved configurations for interchanges and intersections and the surrounding transportation network.

Access management
Access management refers to changing the way people access businesses and roads in the vicinity of interchanges and the way people get on or off the expressway and could include strategies such as combining, closing or realigning driveways, redesigning intersections at cross-streets or making improvements to local roads to improve circulation.

Land use management
Land use management refers to applying zoning overlays, use restrictions, or trip allowances to development that is planned within the interchange influence area to maintain efficient and safe operation of the expressway.

Demand management
Demand management refers to strategies to change trip generation or driver behavior to reduce congestion on the expressway at peak times such as incentives to encourage employees to take transit, pedestrian and bicycle improvements or changes to delivery schedules to occur at off-peak times.

Local circulation improvements
Local circulation improvements refer to improvements to local roads to provide alternatives to using the expressway for local trips.

Adoption and Implementation of the Expressway Management Plan
The EMP will be adopted into the Oregon Highway Plan by the Oregon Transportation Commission, the board that oversees the Oregon Department of Transportation. The City of Springfield and Lane County will provide plan compatibility findings with the EMP. If applicable, components of the EMP will be adopted into the City’s and County’s Transportation System Plans. Intergovernmental agreements may also be developed as part of the EMP process.

Expressway Management Plan Partnership
The City of Springfield and Lane County are collaborating with ODOT throughout the EMP development and approval process.  A project management team composed of key staff from the three partner jurisdictions and the project consulting team meets regularly to oversee the day-to-day development of the project.  An ad hoc steering committee composed of representatives from the Springfield City Council, Lane County Board of Commissioners, and ODOT Region 2 management provides policy direction and final decision-making leading to the finalization of the EMP.
 

Current Status
Over the past three years, the project team has worked to understand problems on the highway and develop design concepts to improve the OR 126/52nd Avenue and OR 126/Main Street intersections.  The project’s Ad Hoc Steering Committee endorsed several interchange and intersection concepts to advance for more detailed analysis to determine the best option.  These concepts were derived from public comment and technical analysis.
 
During this phase of the project, preferred design and access improvements for the OR 126/52nd Street and OR 126/Main Street locations will continue to be refined and selected. Phase three began with four concepts at the OR 126/52nd. Street location and six concepts at the OR 126/Main Street location. Through evaluation criteria, public comment, and technical analysis, the concepts have been narrowed to two different scenarios at the OR 126/52nd Street location and three different scenarios at the OR 126/Main Street location for further evaluation in a more detailed environmental planning process.
 
These concepts are being packaged in a detailed report, which will be put on this website early 2011.