Highway 140 plan wouldn't help Highway 62 congestion

With all the friction over the expansion of Highway 62 for such a short distance, it seems that would cause more problems than it would solve. Whatever happened to the plan to extend Highway 140 from White City to Interstate 5? That would eliminate traffic going into Medford to connect to Interstate 5 and cause less interruptions and problems.

— A.B., Eagle Point

While your idea has a lot of currency among some local officials, it has been pooh-poohed by the Oregon Department of Transportation, A.B.

ODOT says the problem is that a vastly improved (and expensive!) Highway 140 connection would take fewer than 10 percent of the cars and trucks off Highway 62, according to a study prepared in 2007.

Gary Leaming, spokesman for ODOT, said most drivers wouldn't use the Highway 140 extension because it wouldn't go to the destinations they want to reach, and if you think about it, that makes sense.

Most of us use Highway 62 to get to stores there, or we're headed to Eagle Point or Crater Lake. People who live in Eagle Point generally are headed to Medford, which is, after all, the shopping hub for the region.

Even though an extension of Highway 140 isn't in the works, transportation officials are working on ways to make it easier for truck and vehicle traffic going from White City to the freeway. A new interchange is being built at Seven Oaks and many intersections and curves along the existing road to White City are being improved.

Transportation planners are developing a bypass route that could accommodate up to 50 percent of the traffic that flows along the busy Highway 62 corridor.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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