Rogue River traffic-sign shuffle spurs confusion

What is going on with the traffic signals in Rogue River near the new Depot Street Bridge and the entrance to town? They are taking out stop signs and then putting them back in. How are we supposed to know how to drive safely these days?

— Jan T., Rogue River

Place your hands at 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock on the steering wheel, buckle your seat belt, and obey all traffic devices — even if officials are playing hide-and-seek with stop signs in Rogue River, Jan.

Seriously, Jackson County Engineer Mike Kuntz is asking motorists to use extra caution as they become familiar with the new traffic controls.

Four freeway ramps, a new bridge and existing railroad tracks make traffic in the area a challenge to control, said Kuntz.

"There isn't another situation like this in the whole state," said Kuntz.

The unique challenges caused a Depot Street stop sign to be removed then almost immediately reinstalled, he said.

"We made the change thinking it would help empty the town better, but it had the unintentional consequence of having traffic queuing on the railroad tracks," said Kuntz.

The newly installed lighted traffic signals on Depot Street at the Interstate 5 ramp intersections were activated on June 7, Kuntz said. In order for the new signals to work effectively, engineers originally thought they should remove the southbound stop sign on Depot Street where it intersects with Pine and Classick streets.

But removing the stop sign made Depot a through-street, and drivers trying to turn onto Pine or Classick started backing up. It quickly became apparent the sign was going to have to be reinstalled, said Kuntz.

"That made the railroad (officials) nervous," said Kuntz. "We put the stop sign back in. And it's been back ever since."

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