The Lane County Board of Commissioners approved the Territorial Highway project Aug. 20, marking a significant step in the project’s multi-year development.
“The success of this project has been, and will continue to be, the result of all of us working together to realize these needed improvements,” said the county’s Senior Transportation Planner Becky Taylor in a statement.
The highway project is a result of many years of input and coordination with a community of residents, bicycle riding groups, freight companies and other stakeholders to discuss ways to address safety concerns on the 5.7-mile stretch of rural road.
Meetings with these groups indicated a shared desire to protect the natural environment and preserve the rural character of the roadway while softening sharp curves and widening the shoulders.
The project is slated to be completed in four phases over four summers.
Phase 1 will begin in the summer of 2020 at a midway section of the highway, which addresses a landslide hazard at Stony Point and realignment of the section’s particularly sharp curves.
Phase 2 construction will address the northern part of the corridor at Gillespie Corners in 2021. The curves of the road here will also be softened and two bridges will be raised and widened.
Phase 3’s 2022 construction will realign the corners of a segment between Easy Acres Drive and Hamm Road.
Phase 4 will complete construction in 2023 on the corridor’s southern half between Territorial Lane and Cottage Grove-Lorane Road, implementing improvements the latter’s intersection and more softening of curves along the roadway.
Each phase will also widen the road to include six-foot shoulders and 11-foot vehicle lanes, keeping just one vehicle travel lane in each direction.
Between the widening and realignment of curves, it is hoped road access and sight distance for all traffic will be greatly improved.
Though no specific start dates have been decided, Taylor estimated summer work on each phase could take around five months.