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Highway 20 Safety Corridor No Longer Needed

The U.S. 20 Safety Corridor between Toledo and Chitwood is a success and is no longer needed. The 10.4 mile corridor was established in 1999, and the fatal and serious injury crash rate has fallen to the point that the area does not qualify as a safety corridor. It is one of five current Safety Corridors and becomes the 17th corridor to be decommissioned since the program began in 1989. As of Dec. 6, all safety corridor signs, including the double fines signs, will be removed. Historically, crash rates do not increase after a safety corridor is decommissioned. Traffic violation fines will no longer be doubled in the area once signs are removed. Since the first U.S. 20 Safety Corridor signs were installed in 1999, improvements include:

  • U.S. 20 Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville Project between milepost 14 and 24 created 5.5 miles of new road, bypassing a 10 mile section of the original alignment of U.S. 20 built in 1917. The project made major safety improvements by building wider travel lanes and paved safety shoulders, eased congestion by replacing miles of no-passing zones with two wide travel lanes, provided a separated railroad crossing, and straightened the highway.

  • In 2003, repaved 11 miles of highway between Newport and Simpson Creek. Safety improvements were incorporated into the project.

  • Updated curve warning signs, providing consistent curve advisories that meets federal standards.

  • A public education program including public service ads, billboards, and presentations to schools and civic groups that increased public awareness.

  • Increased traffic enforcement through overtime patrol grants. Enforcement is a very effective way to reduce crashes because drivers slow down, pay better attention, and follow the laws when they see a patrol vehicle.

  • Highway sign, pavement marking, and reflector improvements better direct and control traffic.

To qualify as a safety corridor, the average fatal and serious injury crash rate must be higher than 150% that of similar roads statewide. The U.S. 20 corridor rate is currently 133%.

The partnerships between the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Police, Lincoln County and local citizens that led to this success will continue to improve safety in the corridor.

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