On Sept. 8 I downloaded the new plans from the Oregon Department of Transportation for the reconstruction of the intersections of Highway 20 with Independence Road and Granger Road.
I have lived a mile north of Highway 20 for 33 years, and was startled to find out the safety improvements at the intersections were concrete dividers that force traffic going east into a single dedicated lane.
ODOT is also widening the road to allow vehicles turning north on Independence Road and west on Granger Road to avoid being shadowed or blocked out of the vision of a vehicle sitting at the intersection, as I was from a car heading towards Corvallis last year. I have entered Highway 20 hundreds of times, but darkness, fog, steamy windows and a shadow kept me from seeing an oncoming car.
The fella who showed up with a wrecker said they are out at these two intersections at least twice a month. But now ODOT is removing the flashing beacons and replacing them with street lighting and a stop sign. In 2001, a drunk did not see the stop sign when he flew off the tracks that are 65 feet from the highway and hit a car, killing the driver of the car, who burned to death.
After this accident, ODOT installed flashing beacons when traffic signals would have been the real solution. ODOT says traffic signals slow traffic; so does an accident, and 24 accidents a year cost more than a set of signals.