The Marion County’s Intersection Enhancements project recently received the prestigious Oregon ITE “2023 Transportation Project of the Year Award” in recognition of its significant improvements at the Ehlen/Butteville and Silverton/Brush Creek intersections. This project, undertaken with the goal of reducing Crashes and enhancing commuter safety, successfully secured ODOT ARTS safety funds for critical upgrades. The implementation contract was awarded to Brown Contracting, and Western Systems proudly served as the supplier of innovative hardware that brought these enhancements to fruition.
McKay / Yergen / Ehlen Roads Safety Corridor
As part of the Safety Corridor Pilot Program, Marion County targeted safety concerns along McKay / Yergen / Ehlen Roads, a corridor notorious for high crash rates. The overarching goal was to minimize fatal and serious injury crashes through low-cost safety enhancements, including signs, pavement markings, rumble strips, and speed feedback signs.
Engineering Solutions for Intersection Safety
- Lower Speeds:
- Collaboration with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to enforce speed limits.
- Installation of four driver feedback signs to alert motorists of their speeds.
- Reduce Lane Departures:
- Implementation of centerline rumble strips, wider edgeline striping, and guardrail reflectors.
- Increase Visibility at Intersections:
- Evaluation and upsizing of signage and markings at intersections.
- Installation of larger, reflective “Stop” signs, wider stop bars, and improved intersection lighting.
Project Scope and Installation Process
The project scope included:
- Advanced warning flashers on the main roadway,
- Enhanced stop warnings on the approach roadways,
- Transverse rumble strips on Brush Creek Dr.,
- Approach roadway vehicle detection,
- Intersection lighting.
Silverton/Brush Creek intersection, Photo: Google Maps
Ehlen/Butteville intersection, Photo: Google Maps
Project Outcomes & Recommendations
While ongoing evaluations are in progress, the implemented efforts have already yielded tangible improvements. However, the occurrence of two fatal crashes in 2022 underscores the persistent challenges. Marion County is actively pursuing additional funding to address fatal crash locations, emphasizing continuous monitoring, and enhancements in education and emergency services.
This successful endeavor involved the collaboration of dedicated individuals and organizations:
Marion County Public Works:
- Lani Radtke, Engineering Division Manager
- Ryan Crowther, Capital Projects Manager
- Steve Preszler, Project Engineer
- Don Alexander, Civil Engineer Associate, Traffic Engineering
- Jill Ogden, Senior Engineering Technician
- Spencer Hohenshelt, Senior Engineering Inspector
- Linda Martin, Engineering Quality Assurance
- Desiree Tokyo, Engineering Office Specialist
DKS Engineering Consultant:
Supplier – Western Systems:
- Tom Rivard, Cabinet Engineering & Design Manager
- Jason Spencer, territory manager
General Contractor – Brown Contracting
Electrical Contractor – Aaken Corporation
In a resolute pursuit of traffic safety, Marion County’s intersection enhancements at Ehlen/Butteville and Silverton/Brush Creek stand as a testament to proactive measures aimed at reducing Crashes and preserving lives. Collaborative efforts and innovative engineering solutions have not only yielded tangible progress but also underscored the county’s commitment to continuous monitoring, education, and emergency services improvement. Despite challenges, including unfortunate fatal incidents, Marion County remains dedicated, actively seeking additional funding to address specific crash locations. The project’s success, orchestrated by key stakeholders like Marion County Public Works, DKS Engineering, Brown Contracting, Western Systems and Aaken Corporation, showcases a holistic approach to creating safer roadways and a community steadfastly committed to saving lives through comprehensive traffic solutions.