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Hwy. 26 safety corridor expected to be decommissioned this fall posted on 07/01/2020

A safety corridor on Hwy. 26 between milepost 25.2 and 57.45 is expected to be decommissioned by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) this fall, although an exact timeline is still unknown, according to Don Hamilton, ODOT Region 1 Public Information Officer. The corridor was created in 1996 as a tool to help reduce crashes while long-term solutions are being implemented.

“Safety corridors are not intended to be permanent,” Hamilton said. “This one was a fairly lengthy one.”

As part of the decommissioning, signs that read “Safety Corridor” will be taken down and traffic fines will no longer be doubled.

Hamilton noted that the numbers reflect the success of the corridor and the improvements that have taken place, with 59 fatal/severe injury crashes occurring in the corridor between 1991-96, but dropping to 25 between 2013-18, a decrease of 58 percent.

ODOT has designated 21 different corridors in the state, and after the stretch on Hwy. 26 is decommissioned, just four will remain. Hamilton noted that ODOT continues to monitor what happens in the corridors after they are decommissioned.

“We are also watching those former corridor areas very carefully,” he said. “That's a critical part of this, we will continue to evaluate the safety and prioritize improvements in this area.”

According to ODOT, $65 million has been invested into improvements on 41.3 miles of Hwy. 26 since 2008, including variable message signage, median strips and more. Another $4.4 million is expected to be spent on more improvements in the near future. ODOT is also expected to continue to fund law enforcement overtime in the area through safety grants.

ODOT also reported that out of the people involved in the fatal/severe injury crashes on Hwy. 26, more than half involved local residents.

A safety corridor on Hwy. 26 between Gresham and Sandy had previously been decommissioned in 2006.

For more information, visit https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Safety/Pages/Roadway.aspx.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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