Lane County Announces Federal Grant to Plan for Safety Improvements to Territorial Highway
Contacts: Lydia McKinney, Sr. Planner, Lane County Transportation Planning 541-682-6930
Lane County is excited to announce that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded the only Transportation, Community, and System Preservation (TCSP) project grant in Oregon to plan for much needed safety improvements on Territorial Highway. The award is to develop a corridor plan focusing on a particularly dangerous segment of Territorial Highway (from Gillespie Corners to Lorane).
This section of roadway is in poor condition, narrow, and windy. Trucks, cars, cyclists and pedestrians all use the roadway, and it is a key transportation link to forest, farming, and winery businesses. The conflict between the different users sharing this substandard roadway was brought home by the tragic death of Jane Higdon, an experienced cyclist who was killed when being passed on this narrow stretch of the road.
This project is special. It’s a widely supported public/private collaboration as demonstrated by over sixty letters of support and the commitment by private donors of local match funding. Lane County and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have been actively seeking funding in partnership to address Territorial Highway safety concerns for several years.
One of the many project supporters is Congressman Peter DeFazio, who comments “I gladly supported Lane County’s and the Oregon Department of Transportation’s grant request for federal funds to plan for safety improvements along Territorial Highway. This critical road has access to diverse federal and private lands, farms, forest operations, several unincorporated communities, schools, and twelve wineries. Future improvements will enhance the local economy, create needed jobs in construction and other industries, and provide important safety benefits for vehicle and bicycle traffic.”
While the total cost to fix this section of Territorial Highway will be approximately $8.7 million dollars, the $440,000 TCSP grant, combined with the match, will fund the first of several steps necessary for actual road improvements. This first step is development of a corridor (or facility) plan which will include significant public involvement to generate design options and eventually a preferred alternative for this road section. The crucial planning work will support the environmental and permitting work required before construction and make the County eligible for additional funding opportunities to complete the improvements.
The TCSP grant program funds projects that integrate transportation, community, and system preservation plans and practices, including improving the efficiency of transportation systems, reducing environmental and financial impacts, and providing access to jobs and services. These restricted funds cannot be used for any other projects or purposes.
This successful grant application was supported by a variety of stakeholders from the cycling community, emergency service providers, trucking and logging industries, and community members. Lane County appreciates the support to date and looks forward to working with the community in designing a solution to make this road safe for all users.
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