US 97 at Cora Drive looking south toward Cherry Lane.
U.S. 97 is a critical part of the State’s transportation system. This highway carries a large volume of traffic between the California and Washington borders and is classified as a statewide freight route. U.S. 97 is equally important to local residents to access schools, shopping and getting farm products to market. Keeping traffic moving and highways safe are critical parts of ODOT’s mission.
The section of U.S. 97 between NE Cherry Lane and NE Cora Drive has a significant crash history. Over the last 10 years, from January 1999 to December 2008, there have been 14 reported crashes. The crashes have resulted in two fatalities and one severe (life threatening) injury. Eight of the 14 crashes occurred in the vicinity of the intersection of U.S. 97 and NE Cherry Lane; six occurred in the vicinity of the intersection of U.S. 97 and Cora Drive. The intersection of U.S. 97 and NE Cora Drive was ranked as one of top 10% worst crash sites in Oregon in 2005-2007, and NE Cherry Lane was ranked as one of the top 15% worst crash sites in 2002 and 2003. The rankings are based on crash frequency, crash rate, and crash severity.
Factors that lead to the potential risk for a high number of severe crashes at the intersection of U.S. 97 and NE Cherry Lane include:
The following table summarizes the crash history at the different intersections over the past ten years:
- At the intersection of U.S. 97 and NE Cherry Lane, southbound vehicles on U.S. 97 are traveling at high speed aided by a climbing lane; there is limited visibility between the highway and the intersection.
- Vehicles traveling northbound on U.S. 97 turning left onto NE Cherry Lane stop in the travel lane and are not visible to traffic coming over the crest of the hill.
- Vehicles traveling southbound on U.S. 97 turning left onto NE Cherry Lane stop in the climbing lane, which is counterintuitive for drivers wishing to pass slower vehicles.
- Vehicles turning onto northbound U.S. 97 from NE Cherry Lane do not have adequate sight distance to the south.
- Vehicles travelling northbound on U.S. 97 have been observed by Oregon State Police officers to stop in the southbound climbing lane before turning left onto NE Cherry Lane, creating a very dangerous situation.
||Crashes between 1/1999 and 12/2008
||Crashes with injuries
||Crashes with fatalities or serve injuries |
|US 97/NE Cherry Lane
|US 97/NE Cora Drive
Below are some characteristics of the crashes:
64 % occurred at intersections 79% occurred in dry conditions
57% were left turn collisions 29% resulted in overturned vehicles
71% were either fatal or injury crashes (17 injured people)
Analysis of this data shows that most of the crashes are due to the lack of turning lanes, limited sight distance, and the proximity of the NE Cherry Lane intersection to the beginning and ending of a climbing lane.
ODOT and Jefferson County prefer Option 1A
A road safety audit was completed for the U.S. 97 at Cherry Lane project area in 2011. The report can be found in the Project Materials section below.
ODOT and Jefferson County reviewed the different options presented in the report and decided to move forward with Option 1A
. This option would:
- Remove the south bound passing lane on U.S. 97 at Cherry Lane
- Widen U.S. 97 for turn pockets at Cherry Lane and Cora Drive
- Realign Cora Drive with U.S. 97
- Close and cul-de-sac Clark Drive at U.S. 97
- Realign Clark Drive with Cora Drive
- Flatten side slopes and remove barrier along the east side of U.S. 97 at Hilltop Lane