WINCHESTER — After several delays, the Winchester Area Improvement Project Safety Corridor that began over a year ago is finally nearing completion.

This week, crews from Knife River Materials of Roseburg have had their paving equipment on Old Highway 99 North between Winchester and the intersection of Kenneth Ford Drive and are putting the final touches on that stretch of highway.

Motorists should expect some delays while the paving work is being finished. Traffic has been down to one lane in the construction zone, with a pilot car guiding vehicles through the area.

The project is expected to be finished by the end of next week with the road and lane striping.

Work began on May 8, 2019, but the delays pushed the project far past the projected completion of Dec. 31, 2019.

Delays caused by adverse weather, delayed delivery of materials, a sewage spill that sent 222,240 gallons of raw sewage into the North Umpqua River in September and a gas line break, all contributed to the setback.

The project included the closing of Old Highway 99 North between Taft Drive and Virgia Lane while a bridge was being replaced. When that part of the project was done, the highway was closed between Pioneer Way and Page Road for another bridge replacement.

Traffic during both closures was rerouted, with residents living to the north of the construction having to use Interstate 5 near milepost 129 to get to that area. Those residents living to the south had to go north on Northeast Stephens Street to reach their homes.

The overall cost of the project was estimated at $8.5 million, and the Roseburg Urban Sanitary Authority had provided $2.1 million in funding. The remaining revenue came from Douglas County’s allocation of the Federal Surface Transportation Block Grant Program.

Douglas County Public Works officials did not return a call from The News-Review, but a press release from the county reminded motorists that safety is always a priority and to use caution while going through the construction zone. The release said closures could impact drive time so plan to seek alternate routes whenever possible.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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