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Safety fixescharted forbusy corridor

A proposed road project at the intersection of Southwest 185th Avenue and Tualatin Valley Highway (Highway 8) in Aloha aims to reduce the number of vehicle crashes and improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is in the early planning stages for a series of improvements geared to reduce the high crash rate on the highway between Southwest 182nd and 187th avenues. Between 2008 and 2012, more than half of the 137 crashes in that area of the highway resulted in injuries, according to ODOT statistics. Of those accidents, the majority were near Southwest 185th Avenue and were rear-end and turning collisions.

At an open house held Monday, ODOT officials introduced proposed solutions to mitigate the safety concerns.

Lili Boicourt, ODOT community affairs coordinator, said the project is “30 percent designed,” with full design expected to be complete by May.

ODOT is currently taking public comments on proposed changes to the intersection and several blocks along TV Highway.

The major safety concerns involve the numerous driveways close to Southwest 185th Avenue; poor visibility caused by short sight distances; poor street lighting and poorly placed signs; and transit stops in locations that cause traffic backups.

The proposal includes installing a raised concrete traffic separator on TV Highway between Southwest 182nd and 187th avenues — with turns still available at 185th and 187th avenues — to help reduce crashes caused by motorists making left turns off the highway.

In addition, U-turns will be allowed both westbound and eastbound at 185th Avenue, providing for safer access to both directions on the highway.

Ana Jovanovic, ODOT project leader, said ODOT officials will continue to evaluate the option of U-turns, noting that many drivers are not accustomed to having that option.

Other proposed safety improvement measures include:

n Installing additional lighting and pedestrian countdown signals at 185th Avenue to provide pedestrians with more information and making them more visible to motorists and bicyclists;

n Building bus pullouts and considering whether to move bus stops to the far side of the traffic signals to improve signal operation and reduce rear-end crashes.

Construction is slated to begin at the end of 2015, Boicourt said. There will be two more rounds of public input meetings before construction begins.

A second open house is slated for March 20 (see box, Page 1).

For more information or to comment, contact Boicourt at lili.D.Boicourt@odot.state.or.us or by calling 503-731-8247.

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