By Meghan Glova
Central Oregon Daily News
The intersection of Highway 20 and Hamby Road has been a dangerous spot – there’s been two fatal crashes there in the last five years.
Today, a major step forward to make the intersection safer.
Deschutes County Commissioners approved an agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation Monday morning, putting up a half million dollars to redesign the intersection.
It’s a major step in the $4.4 million dollar improvement project to make the area safer.
Peter Murphy from ODOT says, “As a lot of other places in Bend have grown up, there’s more and more traffic happening. This is an area where we’ve noticed that there is the opportunity for more crashes and more collisions, and certainly the track record out there shows that.”
The intersection of Highway 20 and Hamby Road has experienced two fatalities within the past five years, and is no stranger to collisions. In hopes of making this area a safer place to drive, ODOT has proposed the building of a roundabout.
“We know through study that roundabouts, number one, reduce the speed at intersections.” Murphy said. “Any collision that does occur is happening at a lower speed, so that means fewer injuries and less property damage.”
Murphy says although there are many details still in the works for this project, including the design of the roundabout, the concept and funding is a step in the right direction.
“We have to have real drawings, we have to have a good idea of what takes place. If there’s right of way that has to be acquired we have to go through that process as well,” he said. “So there are a number of steps that are yet to happen, but this is an important marker here with the county getting on board with Intergovernmental Agreement.”
According to ODOT, about 7,500 vehicles drive along Highway 20 per day.
By building a roundabout, people will have to slow down and any accidents are likely to be less severe.
Construction on the project could begin as soon as 2021.