Lane County takes on Territorial Highway

Lane County takes on Territorial Highway
Posted on 03/22/2019

The 42-mile stretch of Territorial Highway located within Lane County’s boundaries, with the exception of the portion that is also Highway 36, is now under the jurisdiction of Lane County after months of planning with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), which previously had jurisdiction over the highway.

 

“It feels great to finalize this jurisdictional transfer,” said Lane County Engineer Peggy Keppler. “Adding Territorial to our road system will allow us to make long-term investments in the safety of the highway.”

 

The first change residents will see along Territorial are significant improvement to the 5.7 miles between Gillespie Corners and Lorane, including providing shoulders, realigning curves to improve sight distance, and stabilizing a landslide at Stony Point. The improvement plan reflects community and neighbor input gathered in 2014. Lane County will be reaching out to neighboring residents and property owners later this year to discuss timelines and construction plans in more detail.

 

“Safety improvements to this section of Territorial have historically had widespread community support,” said Keppler. “Since the tragic death of bicyclist Jane Higdon on that stretch of highway in 2006, we have been looking at opportunities to improve safety, and thanks to the jurisdictional transfer we will be able to take action.”

 

While Lane County takes on immediate jurisdiction for Territorial when it comes to ownership and permitting authority, maintenance of the highway will transfer in three phases over the next five years. The first section to come under County maintenance this year is milepost 32.06 to milepost 42.08. The second section to come under County maintenance is milepost 2.03 to milepost 19.49 in 2022. The final section to come under County maintenance is milepost 19.49 to milepost 32.06 in 2024.

 

A detailed map that includes the maintenance transfer phases is available at www.lanecounty.org/territorialhighway.

 

“Transferring maintenance responsibilities in phases will allow us to better absorb Territorial into our established maintenance plan and priorities,” said Lane County Road Maintenance Manager Orin Schumacher. “We will be working with residents along the highway so they know where we are at in the transfer process and who should be responding to issues: Lane County or the State.”

 

Several bridges along Territorial Highway will remain under ODOT’s jurisdiction until the State brings them up to the National Bridge Inventory Standards of “good or better.”

 

The transfer comes with a funding agreement, the bulk of which will help improve the section at Gillespie Corners. The State will provide a total of $30 million over the next five years. Additionally, the State will make a one-time payment of $2.3 million to assist with the ongoing maintenance of the highway.

 

Lane County has also accepted the transfer of two sections of the Springfield-Creswell Highway (OR 222) from ODOT to Lane County. Delta Highway, which is currently under County jurisdiction, will be transferred to ODOT later this year.