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West Union Road and Neakahnie Avenue left-turn lane

We will build a westbound left-turn lane from West Union Road onto Neakahnie Avenue.

Ramps and street lighting will also be added. Utility poles around the intersection will be relocated before construction.

Construction start (expected): November 2023
Construction finish (expected): May 2024

Update

2/13/2024: Construction work continues. Some extended work days may be needed for paving.

Funding

Cost: $1,000,000 (2021 estimate)

Funding sources:

FAQs

This project was awarded approximately $1 million from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) All Roads Transportation Safety (ARTS) grant program in 2018. It was selected for construction in the 2021-2024 State-wide Improvement Program (STIP) funding cycle. Grants were awarded using traffic crash data to select projects that would improve safety at a high level relative to cost.

We selected this intersection for the grant program based on:

  • Available crash data showing a high number of rear-end and westbound left-turn crashes.
  • Safety benefit compared to the cost to construct, which met ARTS grant program criteria. This contributed to the success of our nearly $1 million grant award
  • Community feedback

Our 2018 ARTS grant application did not include a traffic signal. Data available at the time indicated that a left turn lane would be about as effective at reducing crashes as a traffic signal. A left-turn lane is less expensive and met the ARTS grant criteria.

Adding a traffic signal or roundabout as part of this project would cost more than the nearly $1 million ARTS grant award. We haven’t done engineering studies to justify a roundabout or traffic signal and we haven’t planned for the cost. However, we will do the engineering studies we need to consider a signal or roundabout as a future project. Traffic and safety data and funding availability will also be considered.

A roundabout requires large amounts of right-of-way. This would be expensive and impact nearby property owners.

We will also do the needed engineering studies to consider the possibility of an all-way stop. Traffic volumes need to justify the addition of an all-way stop.

Yes. Utility poles and boxes that are currently at the southwest corner of the intersection will be relocated. The edge of the berm on the south side of the intersection will also be moved further away. These improvements will exceed County sight-distance exceptions when completed.

Yes. Two new street light poles will be added on the southwest and southeast corners of the intersection in line with County illumination and sight-distance standards.

West Union is an urban arterial; the speed limit is 45 west of 185th to Dick Road, which is appropriate for this road classification. (See our Road Classifications infographic.)  Engineering studies have shown that motorists drive at a speed they feel is comfortable for the conditions, often regardless of what speed is posted on the signs. To avoid a speed trap, Oregon laws direct that speed zones must not vary significantly from the speed that the majority (85%) of traffic is traveling. Read the Oregon Department Transportation (ODOT) FAQs on speed zoning.

Our most recent speed study in this area of West Union Road was done on March 9, 2023. The 85th percentile speed was 50 mph. The average speed was 45 mph.

Speeding is a choice that drivers make and changing driver behavior is most effectively achieved through enforcement. We encourage you to contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to provide extra enforcement. Request additional enforcement online.

Potentially changing the posted speed limit requires a process that can take up to/longer than a year. The final determination follows an investigative process outlined in the Oregon Administrative Rule, which gives ODOT the responsibility for making a final determination.

Changing the posted speed on West Union should be considered separately from the West Union Road/Neakahnie Avenue project.

We receive crash data from ODOT. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires that drivers self-report crashes.  This data set from ODOT is the official crash record for the County and has gone through several checks and processing to standardize the data.

We also look at Police Reports and Emergency Medical Provider reports as needed.

Crash data from 2011-2015 was the most recent ODOT data available when we applied for grant funding in 2018. Current ODOT traffic crash data shows 10 reported crashes between January 2016 and December 2020.

Contact(s)

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