Overview

This corridor serves many uses, including local residences, businesses, commuters, freight haulers, cyclists and tourists visiting the coast. With a posted speed of 55 miles per hour, the corridor includes many private driveways, numerous intersections, limited turn lanes, and is lacking in passing lanes. Highway expansion options are limited by the proximity of the Coos Bay Rail Line, Fern Ridge Reservoir, and it’s adjacent natural resource lands.

 

Highway 126: Fern Ridge Corridor Plan, Study Area

Highway 126: Fern Ridge Corridor Plan, Study Area

Click here for an interactive aerial map of the study area.

What are the options to improve highway safety and function?

This eighteen-month study started in May 2011 to identify and explore the advantages and disadvantages of a range of improvement alternatives. ODOT has hired DKS Associates to lead the transportation and environmental studies, such as traffic analysis and a review of environmental resources along the corridor. The outcome of this process will be a Facilities Plan to identify ways to improve the safety and operation of the highway.

Major projects funded by the federal government require an assessment according to the rules established in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This project is following NEPA guidelines by developing and evaluating a range of alternatives.

A rough timeline of key project milestones (view our public involvement graphic):

  • Project Initiation: May 2011
  • Review Existing Plans, Policies, Rules: June 2011
  • Draft Problem Statement, Goals & Objectives: June 2011
  • Draft Range of Alternatives: July 2011
  • Assess Existing Transportation Conditions: Sept 2011
  • Assess Environmental Baseline Conditions: Sept 2011
  • Community Forum #1 “Brainstorm the Options”: Oct 2011
  • Final Problem Statement, Goals & Objectives: Oct 2011
  • Final Range of Alternatives: Oct 2011
  • Conduct Future Travel Forecasts and Needs Analysis: Oct 2011
  • Evaluate Alternatives – 8 or fewer: Jan 2012
  • Community Forum #2 “Evaluate the Options”: Jan 2012
  • Evaluate Alternatives – 3 or fewer: May 2012
  • Draft Plan: May 2012
  • Community Forum #3 “Choose an Option”: May 2012
  • Adopt Plan: Lane County Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners: Nov 2012
  • Adopt Plan: Oregon Transportation Commission: 2013
Highway 126, facing east

Highway 126, facing east

What comes next?

This study is the first phase of what could be a four-phase process resulting in construction of one or more projects along this portion of highway.  As currently envisioned, these four phases will take several years:

  • Phase 1: Corridor Plan to identify needs and recommend a range of alternatives to be advanced into Phase 2.  This phase will result in three or fewer preferred alternatives.
  • Phase 2: Comprehensive environmental documentation, to meet National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, necessary to choose a preferred alternative for design and construction.
  • Phase 3: Preliminary and final design and preparation of construction plans for the preferred alternative.
  • Phase 4: Construct preferred alternative.