With the first summer of construction on the Oregon 62 Expressway
project in the rear view mirror, ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher wants
the smooth start to continue as construction progresses along Crater
Lake Highway from Interstate 5 to Delta Waters Road.
“Drivers have done well so far negotiating our traffic switches
during the Lone Pine Creek box culvert replacement,” said Fletcher.
“Traffic switches will continue to a lesser degree this fall and winter
as construction continues on the directional interchange.”
After prime contractor Knife River Materials of Central Point
replaces the Lone Pine Creek box culvert located in front of Lava Lanes,
the project focus will ramp up on the directional interchange and
widening the south side of Crater Lake Highway.
Construction of a new multi-use path, located on ODOT-owned property
south of the existing sidewalk, allows the contractor to tear out the
old south side curb line so construction can begin on a third travel
lane with new curbs, gutters and sidewalk.
Left Turns Eliminated
According to Fletcher,
left turns from Crater Lake Highway and from the Skypark Drive
intersection west to Poplar and Bullock Roads will be removed by the end
“We’ve eliminated several left turns to improve safety on Crater Lake
Highway,” said Fletcher. “That work will continue west toward Poplar
Drive and Bullock Road this fall. Removing these left turns will help
reduce the crash rate.”
Oregon 62 exceeds its capacity standards. Future growth is expected to significantly increase traffic.
The $120 million multimodal solution, which underwent more than a
decade of planning, will increase capacity and improve safety along the
Crater Lake Highway corridor, a critical business connection for
freight, tourism and commuters.
“The safety concern is higher crash rates at corridor intersections,
especially from I-5 to Delta Waters Road,” said ODOT Project Information
Specialist Gary Leaming. “The busiest intersection in the Rogue Valley
is Oregon 62 and Delta Waters Road. It has traffic numbers higher than
those along I-5 north of Medford.”
Businesses located along Crater Lake Highway continue to weather the construction, which led to several access changes.
“We know the highway needs to be upgraded for safety, but we’re
obviously concerned that customers will continue to find us and shop
with us,” said Bob Seus, owner of Hubbard’s Hardware.
Reducing Traffic Impacts
Project plans require
Knife River and its subcontractors to keep two lanes of Oregon 62 open
in each direction from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and
from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
“Our construction schedule is designed to reduce traffic impacts
because the daily volumes on Oregon 62 are so high,” said Fletcher.
During later construction phases, the Oregon 62 access near Starbucks
will close for several months so roadwork can begin on the new
westbound travel lanes, which will be incorporated into a new
“The closure of the access near Starbucks is integral to hauling
material into the work site,” said Fletcher. “When this construction
phase is complete, westbound traffic will travel up and over the
directional interchange and the original access will reopen.”
The project’s second phase,
scheduled to bid later this year, will continue the new roadway north.
The road will span Vilas Road with an overpass as it follows the Old
Medco Haul Road before connecting with the existing Oregon 62 corridor
near Corey Road.
Once the project is completed, through traffic will travel along a
4.5-mile, four-lane expressway on the east side of the Medford Airport.
The expressway will cross over Vilas Road via an overpass, and connect
to the existing Crater Lake Highway near Corey Road.
The multimodal project also constructs sidewalks and transit-related enhancements on the existing Oregon 62 corridor.