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Safety fix due for dangerous intersection

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Aug 06 2014 08:20:28 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 26 2014 09:54:52 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns talks with county road officials about a project in the works to make a busy intersection safer.

BEND, Ore. -

Cars whizzing by -- it's a familiar sound for Dan Waldrop who lives off Powell Butte Highway east of Bend, just feet away from the busy intersection where Neff Road becomes Alfalfa Market Road.

"If you watch it, you'll survive through it, but some people don't know about it, and they're coming up south -- and that's where the blind part is, "Waldrop said Thursday.

Twenty crashes in the span of five years. That's what the Deschutes County Road Department reports.

It also says it's time for a change.

"The intersection of Powell Butte Highway, Neff Road and Alfalfa Market Road has the highest crash rate of any intersection in the Deschutes County transportation system," said Chris Doty, director of the county Road Department.

A flashing light, stop signs -- neither has worked.

Desperate times call for a new set of eyes.

"We hired a consultant to do a safety analysis, a traffic engineering firm to really break down the crash rate, why they are occurring, where they are occurring and how they could be fixed," Doty said.

One proposal -- build a roundabout. Officials predict it would cut crashes by nearly 75 percent.

It's an idea some neighbors support.

"I think a roundabout there, moved up on the east side of the intersection where southbound can see it coming, it would eliminate a lot (of crashes)," Waldrop said.

The project is moving forward, with one goal in mind.

"This isn't a design to add capacity to the intersection," Doty said. "t's designed to really improve the safety."

You can weigh in on this project and tell the county what you think should be done.

Comments are due by July 7th, send them to Chris Doty at chris.doty@co.deschutes.or.us.

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