The Oregon Department of Transportation is trying to answer as many questions as it can before construction begins at Exit 124 off Interstate 5.

ODOT held an open house Wednesday at the Holiday Inn Express in Roseburg to give local business owners and residents a chance to discuss any concerns people have about how construction will affect them.

About 10 people came to the two hour open house. Representatives from the Travelodge hotel near Exit 124, Roseburg city officials and residents who frequently travel through the area were among those who showed up.

ODOT says the project will improve safety and the flow of traffic on West Harvard Avenue at Exit 124 by realigning southbound I-5 ramps and Bellows Street, replacing traffic signals, adding turn lanes and upgrading the pedestrian system. Traffic signals in the area were installed in the 1970s and require frequent maintenance, according to ODOT.

Dan Latham, spokesperson for ODOT, said hotels and restaurants in the area have had concerns about how the construction will affect their businesses. Motorists will experience delays periodically throughout the summer.

Latham said the project’s contractor will set up a work zone between May and June. Construction will increase after school ends for summer on June 14. The biggest part of the construction will take place when the contractor closes I-5 southbound ramps and Bellows Street for two consecutive weeks during the summer. All lanes should be reopened by Sept. 2 and construction will finish by the end of October.

Latham added that if anyone has any questions about the project, they should contact him.

John McLean has been a Roseburg resident since 2005, and he said he and his wife frequently bicycle through the intersection at Exit 124. He’s said he’s happy the improvements are happening, because the intersection isn’t safe for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“This intersection is a death zone,” McLean said.

He said motorists speed through the area trying to make the lights. He added that it gets more dangerous during rush hour when the intersection exceeds vehicle capacity.

He has nearly been hit by cars several times going through the intersection on his bike.

“You gotta be dedicated or hardcore to ride a bicycle through some of these streets,” McLean said.

Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

React to this story:

1
0
1
0
2

City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

(2) comments

TravelingSalesman

Ten (10) people attended the meeting!
Why only 10 ? Could it be that almost no one knew that odot was holding a meeting?
When government agencies take actions"in the dark" the result is not likely to be beneficial to those effected. Thousands of drivers and dozens of businesses have a dog in this fight and I have to wonder how the meeting was not made more public?

D7R3

The Feb. 6 open house was the latest in several efforts to inform and engage the Roseburg community about this project.

In October, ODOT staff visited more than 300 businesses or other public establishments (churches, schools, non-profits, clinics, etc.) along Harvard Avenue and the downtown business core. We provided information about the project and traffic impacts, and we offered to provide e-mail updates.

Shortly thereafter (Oct. 10, 2018), The News-Review published an article about this project: https://www.nrtoday.com/news/traffic/odot-releases-additional-plans-for-exit-construction/article_d2fe786b-a9b6-5cc2-9636-23680443710b.html

Prior to the February open house, ODOT visited all residents and mailed letters to all property owners in the Bellows-Finlay neighborhood who will be impacted by the Bellows Street closure.

On Jan. 29, ODOT sent a news release to all Douglas County media (including the News-Review, KPIC, KQEN) and all 994 subscribers to the project e-mail list. ODOT sent a reminder e-mail to all media and e-mail list subscribers on Feb. 5. Here are the links:

Jan. 29 news release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDOT/bulletins/22b9560
Feb. 25 reminder: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDOT/bulletins/22d3e0d

In addition, all of the open house materials were posted on the project website, www.Roseburg124.com, two weeks before the actual event. This was mentioned in all news releases and messages to the public. The goal was to be transparent and allow people to view the materials in their own home at their leisure. If they received the information they needed, this would save them the trouble of attending an open house in person, which can be difficult for some people due to work schedules, family obligations, health problems or physical disabilities.

Over the past six months, ODOT has made a good-faith effort to inform the community about this project. More than a thousand people were directly notified by e-mail about the open house. KQEN posted news stories online announcing the open house. Other news media also had the opportunity to share the open house announcement with their viewers or readers.

The relatively low attendance suggests that many people received all the information they needed through other means: personal visits, e-mail updates, letters and the project website. Others will read about the project in the News-Review or other local media.

Updates will continue to be posted on the project website and provided by e-mail. Go to www.Roseburg124.com or https://www.oregon.gov/odot/projects/pages/project-details.aspx?project=20694 to get more information and sign up for updates.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.