Today (Feb. 3, 2021), Marion County became the first Oregon county to designate a local safety corridor establishing the McKay/Yergen/Ehlen Safety Corridor. This was made possible under House Bill 3213 (2019) allowing the Oregon Department of Transportation to create a safety corridor pilot program for counties.
The safety corridor designation allows traffic fines to double in the designated area, which is located between OR-219 and Interstate 5. County Public Works anticipates safety corridor signs will be installed early next week.
Safety corridors have been available for Oregon's highways for many years and have proven effective at reducing crash rates. Commissioner Colm Willis said, "For several years, people have been bypassing bottlenecks on I-5 through Marion County rural roads. We appreciate the work of Rep. Bill Post and other legislators who sponsored legislation to make county safety corridors a possibility. We've done a great deal of work to get to this point and appreciate the cooperation between the county, state, and local communities to help improve traffic safety in northern Marion County."
For several years the McKay/Yergen/Ehlen corridor has been a high priority for Marion County due to higher than expected crash rates and people driving at excessive speeds in the area. Marion County Public Works has installed safety enhancements such as centerline rumble strips and wider striping; larger speed limit, warning, and stop signs; additional pavement markings; and designating no passing zones. The Marion County Sheriff's Office has coordinated with neighboring agencies to conduct targeted patrols to educate drivers on speed and other safety issues.
The county continues to plan for future enhancements including the addition of flashing red beacons at stop signs, flashing amber beacons, increased intersection lighting, and driver speed feedback signs. The county is also pursuing grant funds for the construction of centerline turn pockets at major intersections within the corridor and other enhancements.
"As soon as House Bill 3213 was adopted by the Oregon Legislature, Marion County committed to North Marion County communities to development this safety corridor," said Brian Nicholas, Marion County Public Works Director. "The formal designation of this safety corridor fulfills that promise and the county is committed to working alongside the community for future enhancements."
To learn about Marion County Public Works programs and services, please visit www.co.marion.or.us/PW, call (503) 588-5036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.