Printed on Dec 13, 2013 @ 4:55 AM
The intersection of SW West Hills Road and SW 53rd Street was identified in the County’s Transportation Plan (2001) and the Corvallis Area Metropolitan Transportation Plan (2006) as needing improvements as early as 2015. Funding of $648,000 for intersection improvements was programmed in the 2010-2013 Transportation Improvement Program. Currently, this location meets warrants (engineering requirements) for the installation of a traffic control treatment (signal or roundabout). The Level of Service on West Hills Road is “F”, which is considered failing as traffic backs up waiting for gaps in the traffic on SW 53rd Street. With over 8,000 cars a day, it can take a while for those gaps to appear, so drivers are taking chances. Between 1985 and 2010, there have been 38 recorded crashes at the intersection resulting in 1 fatal and 33 injured.
In February 2011, an Open House was held at the Benton County Fairgrounds to present information to the public concerning all the proposed road construction projects being planned for the 53rd Street corridor. This included the roundabout at the intersection of SW 53rd Street and West Hills Road. Between February 2011 and May 2012, the following groups approved or recommended approval of the roundabout improvement:
Benton County Roads Advisory Committee
Benton County Environmental Issues Advisory Committee
Benton County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Technical Advisory Committee
Corvallis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board
City of Corvallis Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
City of Corvallis Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Transit
Informational presentations were also made to the following groups.
Corvallis City Council
Corvallis Morning Rotary Club
In May 2012, an Open House was held at the Corvallis Library to present more information on why Public Works was planning a roundabout at the intersection of 53rd and West Hills, and provide an opportunity to discuss specific concerns raised by the public. The majority of the people that provided verbal comments at the Open House had a negative impression of of roundabouts and were not in support, even given the data showing that roundabouts are a safer alternative. However, there were several members of the audience that expressed their support after the meeting.
Due to the controversial nature of the topic, the Board of Commissioners decided that they would give final approval or denial to the roundabout proposal. In early 2013, the Board of Commissioners appointed a Task Force to assist Public Works in identifying and addressing safety and operational issues during the design process. On November 5th, 2013, Public Works will be going before the Board of Commissioners to ask for a decision to proceed with design and construction of a Roundabout.
Corvallis Fire Department Maneuvers through mock Roundabout
Questions? Comments? Please contact:
Laurel Byer, County Engineer
The mission of Benton County Public Works is to keep our community accessible, safe and environmentally responsible by meeting daily needs with efficient road and transportation systems, rural utility services, public facilities and land use services.