Beltline improvements start this year: 'It's one of the most congested areas in Eugene'
EUGENE, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Transportation will soon begin major construction on Randy Pape Beltline Highway.
For years, the community has shared concerns about congestion and safety on the highway, according to ODOT spokesperson Angela Beers-Seydel.
Beers-Seydel said Beltline Highway was designed in the late 1960s and it no longer meets the needs of Eugene and Springfield. Anywhere from 55,000 to 90,000 cars travel Beltline every day, Beers-Seydel said.
Springfield resident Shawn Wilson said he is even willing to wake up extra early to avoid traffic, especially at the Delta Highway Interchange.
"I've actually changed my schedule to get around the prime hours of traffic," Wilson said. "I've always thought in my mind: what can they do to widen Delta Highway so it's not always backing up?"
ODOT thinks they have come up with an answer with their 2014 Beltline Facility Plan.
In May, crews will repave the highway between Roosevelt Boulevard and Coburg Road. Drivers can expect nighttime delays and possible detours.
Beers-Seydel said the $?9,533,000 project should wrap up this fall. The money is a combination of state and federal grants.
In Spring 2019, ODOT will revamp the Beltline/Delta Highway Interchange to improve traffic flow and safety.
"You often have a moment of terror getting through it," Beers-Seydel said. "It can be very difficult to merge. It's one of the most congested areas in Eugene."
Some existing ramps will be removed and replaced with new ramps, changing the way drivers travel through the interchange.
Among other improvements, eastbound drivers exiting Beltline to northbound Delta will pass through a new traffic signal.
The exit ramp from Beltline to Delta (northbound and southbound) will be extended to the west (to the bridge over the Willamette River), and Northbound Delta traffic exiting onto westbound Beltline (on the loop ramp) will be separated from northbound traffic continuing onto the Delta Oaks area.
The $20 million dollar Beltline/Delta Highway Interchange project is expected to take two years to complete.
Once ODOT secures more funding, Beers-Seydel said they will be ready to move forward with further improvements to Beltline Highway between Delta Highway and River Road.
They plan to widen Beltline Highway to three lanes in each direction from River Road to Delta Highway, replace the River Avenue/Division Avenue interchange, and add a new local bridge north of the highway, to divert local traffic.
"A lot of these folks are just trying to get to the river road area," Beers-Seydel said.
So far, ODOT has spent $5 million on engineering and environmental studies. Funding has not been identified for any construction. Beers-Seydel said ODOT plans to apply to state and federal grants.
In the meantime, ODOT is asking for community feedback on the projects.
"This is part of people's lives. It's how they get where they're going. It's in their neighborhood, it's an area they're very familiar with, and so people have a lot of opinions about it. And we want to hear that."
The Online Open House will be available until May 25
Check TripCheck for construction status updates.
Learn more about the projects here:
- Beltline/Delta Interchange Project
- Beltline: Delta Highway to River Road
- Beltline paving from Roosevelt to Coburg Road
Related to travel on Beltline Highway:
Summer 2018 - OR 126 Florence-Eugene Highway will be paved between Veneta and Eugene. Expect some delays at night. Check TripCheck for construction status updates.
Summer 2018 -I-105 Eugene-Springfield Highway will have 24 hour lane closures as four bridges and ramps between the Delta Highway interchange and downtown Eugene are rehabilitated and brought up to current standards.