Monday, April 22, 2024

BYPASS: Oregon offers model to consider

| February 23, 2024 1:00 AM

An article in your Feb. 17 edition detailed efforts by our state to study traffic on the Rathdrum Prairie, identifying potential trouble areas and giving direction on improvements to mitigate them. I am glad that they’re out ahead of future problems instead of taking a reactive stance after it is too late to do so.

Over the years, there has been talk of a Huetter Bypass, taking traffic from I-90 up to the Lancaster Road area at the north end of Hayden. I have always thought this to be a wonderful idea to divert traffic from U.S. 95, which continually becomes more congested as the area develops. 

I recently visited Medford, Ore., where a recently opened Rogue Valley Expressway, a 4.5 mile bypass re-routes through traffic from Highway 62 just below White City nearly all the way to Interstate 5 in Medford. There are no intermediate exits. The byway exists to carry traffic between the heart of Medford and the north of town in the most expeditious way. It has greatly reduced vehicle count on Crater Lake highway, the heavily commercialized business route similar to our U.S. 95. 

I see parallels to how a Huetter Bypass would work, decreasing trip time for those who now pound their way up 95 to get to points north of Hayden, while reducing traffic congestion on 95. 

I urge those doing the traffic study to look again at the Huetter Bypass concept. The time to acquire right-of-ways and plan for construction funding is now, as we know these things take time. Do a Google search for “Rogue Valley Expressway” and read more about it!