Crews have started work on a series of projects that will upgrade sewer lines, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and roadway on Garfield Street. (Damian Mann / cell phone photo)

Garfield Street improvements get under way

A deep trench along Garfield Street is a daily reminder to residents that this west Medford thoroughfare is finally going to be kid friendly.

"When two cars are going by, it's hard to ride your bike or walk on this road," said 15-year-old Chris Slater as he walked his bike through the construction zone today.

More than $3.5 million in work will take place along Garfield between Kings Highway and Columbus Avenue in the next six months.

Rogue Valley Sewer Services has started preliminary work to move sewer lines.

General Manager Carl Tappert said his agency wanted to get the sewer work out of the way before the new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and roadway are installed. The cost for the 3,000 feet of 12-inch and 15-inch lines is $570,000.

"The existing lines were old and outdated," he said.

The city awarded a $1 million contract to Central Pipeline Inc., of White City, last week for the Peach Street to Kings Highway portion of the street.

The Oregon Department of Transportation on April 5 awarded a $2 million contract to Ledford Construction Co., of Medford, for the Columbus Avenue to Peach portion of Garfield.

Julie Shelton, a 29-year-old mother of two, negotiated the construction site while jogging with her two babies in a stroller.

Her house overlooks the 10-foot deep trench that will allow Rogue Valley Sewer Services to upgrade its line.

She said it has been a minor inconvenience dealing with the construction, but she's looking forward to the end result

"It's worth it," Shelton said. "Hopefully, it will fix the sinkholes."

The section of Garfield that runs past her house became more of a problem once the new South Medford High School was built on Columbus.

The street has also become a major artery connecting west Medford to the south Medford interchange.

— Damian Mann

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