A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Hwy. 20: Your chance to speak up

Written February 25th, 2016 by Hasso Hering
Looking west along the Albany-Corvallis Highway from Scenic Drive.

Looking west along the Albany-Corvallis Highway from Scenic Drive.

Roughly 10,000 drivers a day drive Highway 20 between Albany and Corvallis and back again, and most of them could recite all its hazards. But the state is sponsoring a safety study anyway. The question is whether anything will be done when this study is complete.

In 2012, ODOT commissioned a “road safety audit” on Highway 20 at Granger Road and Independence Highway. The audit recommended certain steps to make the intersections less risky, but nothing was done. Now we have a study, by ODOT and DKS Associates of Salem, of the entire 8.4 miles from Spring Hill Drive in North Albany to the city limits of Corvallis.

On Wednesday, March 2, the study team will hold a public gathering to explain the process and answer questions. It’s from 4 to 6 p.m. in the “Old School” of the Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis. The study team has posted information online at www.us20safetystudy.com, and it has a lot of data about daily traffic volumes, trouble spots and a crash history from 2010 through 2014. It also has a page for readers to click on a map of the highway and add their comments about that particular spot.

Some of the commenters complain of the danger of rear-end accidents at Scenic Drive and other spots, including Garland’s Nursery closer to Corvallis. Indeed, according one of the slides on the site, the highway has had 55 to 70 crashes per year during the five-year study period, 30-40 involving injuries. Rear-end and turning crashes predominate. There have also been three deaths.

Traffic volume — the total in both directions — in the segment between Granger and Independence is about 19,400 a day. Between 7 and 8 a.m., about twice as many drivers head toward Corvallis as go toward Albany. Between 5 and 6 p.m., the proportions are reversed.

On a bike ride Monday, I took the highway from Scenic back into Albany. The shoulder is wide enough for this, though part of the way I was riding in what seemed like a narrow slot between the guard rail a foot or so on my right and passing traffic about a couple of feet on my left. The city of Albany has plans for a bike path far away from the highway along that segment, and it would be nice to have.

As for the long-proposed bike path from Scenic Drive to Corvallis, the Benton County commissioners are deciding whether to try again to bring it about. Public Works Director Josh Wheeler told me they would discuss it March 1. (hh)

As Mr. Collins points out below, the story had an error, which has now been fixed.

3 responses to “Hwy. 20: Your chance to speak up”

  1. Floyd Collins says:

    Hasso: when you rode on Monday, did you mean Senic to Albany? Springhill to Albany would be a very short trip.

  2. Al Nyman says:

    Hasso, you are kidding yourself if you think ODOT is going to improve Hwy 20. I moved to Corvallis in 1949 and with the exception of the new bridge in N. Albany, the 4 lanes plus the lights, the removal of a curve past Hyatt Park and a light at Circle, it is virtually unchanged in 67 years. With all the ODOT budget going to feed the bureaucracy, there is no money for road improvements.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany Carousel Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal Andy Olson Benton County Benton County parks bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA City of Albany climate change coronavirus COVID-19 Cox Creek path Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village global warming gun control Highway 20 Interstate 5 Kitzhaber Linn County marijuana medical marijuana Millersburg North Albany Road Obama ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Oregon passenger rail Pacific Power Portland & Western Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Willamette River

Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering