Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - The Through-Route Activated Warning Signs on Highway 47 are the first ever used in Oregon, according to Lou Torres, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, and will help alert highway drivers to cross-traffic at Verboort/Purdin roads.New signs and flashers have been installed along Highway 47 at its intersection with Northwest Verboort/Purdin roads north of Forest Grove.

The recent move is yet another safety precaution sparked by the tragic deaths of two Pacific University freshmen last spring. Kiden Dilla and Ayan Osman died in April when Dilla pulled onto Highway 47 in front of an oncoming truck after a brief stop at the stop sign on Verboort Road.

Community grief and outrage — from people who felt the fatal crash could have been avoided if the Oregon Department of Transportation had responded more effectively to a previous fatality — sparked a commitment from ODOT to improve the intersection.

The biggest change will be the installation of a roundabout in place of the traditional intersection. Preliminary design work for the roundabout is moving along, according to ODOT spokesman Lou Torres, with construction expected in 2015.

To improve safety in the meantime, ODOT has installed transverse rumble strips and “Headlights on for Safety” signs on Highway 47 to warn drivers of the upcoming intersection and has lowered the speed limit from 50 to 45.

Last week, an ODOT electrical crew installed “through-route activated warning signs” on Highway 47, which flash any time a vehicle on Verboort or Purdin roads approaches 47.

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