Crews realigning West Jackson Road to link up with South Valley View Road on Highway 99 north of Ashland should be wrapping up the project by midsummer, a Jackson County Roads and Parks official said.
The soon-to-be, four-way intersection is being outfitted with new traffic and pedestrian signals and additional crosswalks to improve pedestrian and traffic safety in the area, said county engineer Mike Kuntz.
"Where West Jackson comes out is not a safe and effective, nor efficient, design," Kuntz said. "We think it's going to be a significant safety improvement over what is there today ... and much better for traffic efficiency."
Kuntz said the intersection should be finished before the end of July, but "people using that area really won't see a change until right at the end of the project."
Nearby businesses are looking forward to the new intersection replacing current West Jackson Road's awkwardly aligned connection to the highway, which has no crosswalk, lops off a corner of Town & Country Chevrolet's inventory lot and frustrates guests staying at Lithia Springs Resort.
"We are very much looking forward to having the intersection done so that we can have direct access into the resort," said Don Anway, general manager of Lithia Springs and Ashland Springs Hotel.
"It'll be much easier for our guests to access and leave," he said.
Anway said the new intersection is also spurring Lithia Springs to finalize plans for expanding the resort within the next year.
"We are just in the phase of looking at how many more rooms we could handle, but we are going to improve the amenities of the resort with either a swimming pool or a bath house to create more of a spa feel," he said. "Having that intersection under construction isn't the ideal situation for us, but it's more about looking into the future and how this will benefit the resort in the future."
Town ... Country Chevrolet owner and General Manager Derek DeBoer said the new intersection will bring uniformity to the area.
"It's going to make for a much safer intersection ... and we will be able to use a little bit more of that right of way and square up our lot," he said.
Medford-based KOGAP Enterprises Inc. was the successful bidder out of six proposals to realign the busy intersection, Kuntz said. It started work March 11.
KOGAP's contract was approved for $448,750, he said, but the project's total cost will be between $800,000 and $850,000, including construction and engineering costs, right-of-way purchase and fees.
The project will be funded by a local improvement district, which will collect twice-yearly payments from adjacent property owners over a 15-year period, Kuntz said.
Sam Wheeler is a freelance writer living in Talent. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.