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.