The following is a news release from the Oregon Department of Transportation:
MILTON-FREEWATER — Due to a reduction in crashes and fatalities along OR Highway 11 the designated Traffic Safety Corridor through Milton-Freewater will be decommissioned on June 5. The highway section is located from Milton-Freewater’s city limits to the Washington State border, mile points 31.50 to 35.32. Crash rates have significantly dropped over the past few years to a point where the safety corridor designation is not longer needed.
“As of June 5, 2013, the signs for the OR 11 Safety Corridor through Milton-Freewater will be taken down and doubling of fines or any other penalties based on the safety corridor designation will no longer be in effect,” said ODOT Region 5 Traffic Safety Coordinator Patty McClure.
Since the Safety Corridor was designated in January 1995 the following has been accomplished: raised median at Stateline Road – improving safety by limiting left turn movements; durable Striping; removing obstacles that limited intersection sight distance; improvements to access associated with sight re-development; and additional law enforcement. Safety corridor/double fine signs were installed to alert drivers and encourage compliance. All of these efforts have helped to reduce the fatalities and serious injuries.
A cooperative effort between ODOT and WSDOT, Umatilla County, the City of Milton-Freewater, Walla Walla County, and the cities of Walla Walla and College Place, Valley Transit, and the Port of Walla Walla have designated the area as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) that includes the Safety Corridor. The MPO is charged with developing a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) that will address a number of issues including, intersection safety, access management, and bicycle and pedestrian issues.
Based on data for the last five years, the designated section of OR Highway 11 no longer qualifies for the safety corridor program.
“This means that fatal and serious injury crashes for the last five years no longer exceed the statewide average for similar roadways,” McClure said.
Removal of the safety corridor designation does not mean motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians should no longer use extra caution along this highway section.
“The route is being decommissioned”, McClure said. “However, local leaders, enforcement professionals, legislators and concerned citizens will maintain their vigilance in this area – we will continue to monitor crashes, patrol the highway, make road improvements, educate the public and encourage safe driving, as well as work with the MPO in development of a long-range transportation plan.”
More information about traffic safety corridors is available on ODOT’s Web site at www.oregon.gov/odot/ts/Pages/roadwaysafety.aspx, or by contacting Patty McClure at 541-963-1387.