November 15, 2012
ODOT Public Affairs
Driver behavior prior to holiday travel is targeted at site of crashes
Safety enhancements have been added to US Highway 20 (Corvallis - Newport Highway), about a half mile east of Eddyville, where three crashes have been recorded since 2009. As the holiday travel period approaches, ODOT is urging drivers to observe the advisory speed in an effort to increase safety for all motorists.
The location is at a sharp curve (milepost 24.3) where drivers are failing to slow down to the advisory speed of 30 mph.
The most recent crash occurred on October 25, 2012, when a Toledo man and his daughter were killed when, according to Oregon State Police, their vehicle was hit by an oncoming pickup that crossed the centerline. Within 10 days of the crash, ODOT installed transverse rumble strips in the westbound lane; installed Speed Reduction Markings along the edges of the roadway; installed pavement legends warning of the curve; and secured safety funding for overtime patrols by the Oregon State Police.
"We moved very quickly because we've observed continued disregard for the advisory speed," said ODOT Area 4 Manager Amy Ramsdell. "We're also planning additional safety measures that are targeted at reducing speeds and improving safety of all motorists. Compliance with the advisory speeds is critical to the safety of all motorists."
The location where the crashes have occurred is a temporary curve that allows traffic to access a small segment of the new alignment on the project to build a wider, straighter section of US Highway 20. The curve will be eliminated when traffic is moved to the completed new alignment in 2015.
It is one of seven curves along the highway between Eddyville and Newport, engineered to handle traffic safely at 30 mph. For westbound motorists, it is the first they come to after a long straight stretch of highway, and ODOT engineers believe that's one reason why motorists are not slowing down.
"We're doing everything we can to make the curve more visible and alert motorists to the advisory speed," said ODOT District 4 Manager Joe Squire. "We previously added enlarged warning signs and we're now planning to place construction barrels and a portable message sign to help provide that alert in time for holiday travel."
ODOT is also considering longer term solutions but in the meantime is urging motorists to be aware of the curves, drive defensively, and travel at the advisory speeds.