A stoplight will be installed next spring at one of Lebanon’s worst intersections, the junction of Airport Road and Stoltz Hill Road.
Ron Whitlatch, Engineering Services Director for the City of Lebanon, said the developers of the Applegate Landing project were required to do a traffic impact analysis as part of their application to build a 48-unit apartment complex on the north side of that intersection.
That study showed the intersection does not currently meet the daily usage rates which would make a stoplight mandatory, but it was very close. Whitlatch said the study estimated that traffic at that intersection would meet the threshold by 2022.
“We looked at it and it warrants it now, in our opinion. We’re not going to wait until the magic number,” Whitlatch said.
As part of the conditions of approval for the affordable housing complex, the city is requiring the developer to pay 25% of the cost of installing the light. Linn County (which owns Stoltz Hill Road) will pay 25% and the City of Lebanon (which is responsible for Airport Road) will pay the remaining 50%.
The intersection can be extremely busy during peak times of day and making a left-hand turn onto Airport Road can be difficult. Stoltz Hill Road approaches Airport Road at a sharp angle and visibility to the west is limited by the convenience store on the corner.
Lebanon resident Oren Swanson has family members who live off Airport Road and he welcomed the addition of a stoplight at this intersection.
“This definitely needs it. It has for years,” Swanson said. “At this point, anytime I come to town it’s a zoo trying to get in and out anywhere.”
Whitlatch said installation of the light is tied to construction of the apartments. He said an engineering company is already working on the design of the stoplight at this intersection and he is hopeful that it can be installed by late spring of 2021.
The City of Lebanon is also considering installation of a stoplight on Highway 20 at the north entrance to the community.
“We’re probably getting close sometime in the near future for a light on Highway 20 coming in on the Reeves Parkway area,” Whitlatch said.
The question is whether to place that traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 20 and Reeves Parkway or to place it at the intersection with Mullins Drive.
At present, Reeves Parkway has higher peak traffic, but Mullins Drive has more consistent usage throughout the day. Whitlatch said the continued development of the Mill Race project may influence those traffic patterns and will be part of the decision-making process.
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