Kirtland Road work to close intersection this weekend

CENTRAL POINT — An intersection at Kirtland and Blackwell roads near Interstate 5 will close for the weekend starting midnight Friday to improve flow and help extend the Highway 140 connection from White City to Interstate 5.

The construction will remove the stop sign for westbound traffic at Kirtland Road.

"By doing this, motorists will be able to pass through that intersection a lot quicker," said Gary Leaming, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The approximately $2.5 million project also adds a Kirtland Road undercrossing for bicyclists and pedestrians as part of the Rogue River Greenway.

Traffic should begin moving through the new intersection Monday morning after the contractor, Knife River, connects three sections of roadway over the weekend.

Transportation officials have long sought to create a better connection from White City to north of Central Point at the Seven Oaks interchange. A better connection would take heavy truck traffic off local roads and create another option for motorists who want to bypass Medford.

Other projects are in the works to continue the Highway 140 route from White City to Interstate 5.

The Seven Oaks interchange, still under construction, also will provide a smooth connector from the future extension of Highway 140 to Interstate 5.

Other intersections in White City would have to be modified as well to connect existing Highway 140 at Highway 62 to Avenue G.

The county plans to smooth out two 90-degree corners at Avenue G, Kirtland Road and Pacific Avenue and turn them into a gentle S-curve that would allow truck traffic to sustain a speed of 55 mph.

Once the improvements are made, ODOT plans to officially extend Highway 140 from its western terminus in White City to Seven Oaks.

The Kirtland and Blackwell intersection project is expected to be completed by October.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476, or e-mail dmann@mailtribune.com.

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