Stakeholder group will advise county on 53rd Street intersection design

Even though a roundabout proposed for the intersection of Southwest 53rd Street and West Hills Drive has not yet been approved by the Benton County Board of Commissioners, design work already is under way on the controversial plan.

On Tuesday, the commissioners approved the membership of a 13-person stakeholder committee to advise the county engineer on the design.

“We started the design process back in the fall, and we’re about 20 percent (complete),” said Laurie Starha, a planner with the Benton County Public Works Department.

Specifically, the members of the 53rd Street Task Force are being asked to address safety and operational concerns raised during a series of public meetings held over the past two and a half years to discuss the plan, which met with strong objections from some members of the public.

The task force will meet two or three times between March and July as County Engineer Laurel Byer continues to work on the roundabout design. The Benton County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on the design — and the question of whether to build the roundabout — in August.

Task force members were drawn from several county advisory commissions and the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection, along with representatives from the Corvallis Fire Department and City Council.

The members are Brad Upton, David Smith, Ron Derrick, Keith Hastings, Mark Donahue, Richard Van Driesche, Neal Peterson, Erica Koenig, Joshua Thomas, Jeff Prechel, Penny York, Mark O’Brien and Steve Amsbury.

The Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has earmarked $648,000 in federal transportation funding for improvements at the intersection.

While the regional planning agency has endorsed the idea of a roundabout at 53rd and West Hills, the funding is not tied to a specific intersection design and could be used for other improvements at the site.

Contact reporter Bennett Hall at or 541-758-9529.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at 541-758-9529 or

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

(5) comments


Task force?

I thought we only needed to survey the 50 closest residents and get their opinion.


"Working on the 'design'" ???? It's round !

>"...has earmarked $648,000 in federal transportation funding for improvements at the intersection."

Stop light = $250,000 leaving $398,000 not wasted,


Austin: stop signs = $0 (already there), leaving $648,000 in federal money not wasted, plus a huge amount of necessary matching money also not wasted.

Shame on County Commissioners for spending money on a project that hasn't even been approved yet.

Isn't it a crying shame that we have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money because a few people are unhappy that they have to wait to enter a main road from a sidestreet.


Well there they go again...not approved, controversial, Yet they are wasting the tax payers money going ahead with plans that, trust me, they are planning on railroading right on thru with or without your opinion. Little Cornvalley..always trying to act like the big city.


Question #1: Do any of the cost estimates include building or routing a detour around the intersection for the period of time the roundabout will be under construction?

Question #2: What is the proposed detour?

Question #3: Do the cost estimates include condemnation and purchase of the home and property on the southeast corner of the intersection?

Question #4: Do the cost estimates include the price of litigation?

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