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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-758-9529.