The design of the intersection at Table Rock and Merriman roads in north Medford has been cited as the cause of eight accidents there in the past three years, city officials say. - Jamie Lusch

Realignment should fix confusing intersection

MEDFORD — One of the most confusing intersections in Medford — Table Rock and Merriman roads — will soon receive a realignment and a traffic signal to provide more clarity for drivers.

The $1 million project will create a four-way intersection and turn Table Rock into a continuous road.

"Table Rock from both directions is going to feel like a through-movement," said Chris Tiesler, an engineer with Portland-based Kittelson & Associates Inc.

Construction bids on the project are expected in early 2009, and construction could commence two weeks later, depending on the contractor, said Cory Crebbin, Medford public works director.

Drivers headed north on Table Rock from Highway 99 now approach a stop sign where Table Rock and Merriman form a fork. The stop sign is meant only for those turning left on Merriman. Table Rock drivers may continue on their way to the right without stopping, but it's not immediately clear to drivers who are new to the intersection because of the way Table Rock suddenly veers to the right after the stop sign.

"If you've lived around here a long time, it's fine. But if you're going through for the first time, it's confusing," Crebbin said. "That's something we don't want — driver confusion."

Debbie Taylor, a manager at the convenience store that sits right at the fork of the two roads, said drivers on Table Rock often hesitate at the stop sign, uncertain of whether they should stop.

"The mistake people make is they stop on Table Rock," Taylor said. "It slows everybody else down. Fortunately, I think the community here has realized it's a bad intersection, and they're prepared for other drivers to stop at the sign."

The realignment won't make Table Rock entirely straight, but it will make driving northbound on Table Rock feel like hugging a slight curve to the right instead of veering to the right, Tiesler said.

Drivers will have to stop on Table Rock when their light is red.

The current intersection design has been cited as the cause of eight accidents at the intersection in the past three years, Crebbin said.

"The heaviest volumes are on Table Rock so it made sense to make it a straight shot," Tiesler said.

The intersection improvement is one of 17 transportation projects the Medford City Council approved in 1996. City revenue will fund the project.

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