County Holds Territorial Hwy. Open House

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EUGENE, Ore. — It’s one of the oldest highways in Oregon, and it could be undergoing some renovations.

Residents attended an open house hosted by Lane County on Monday to discuss an improvement plan for the Territorial Highway corridor.

The rural setting and scenery makes it a popular road for cyclists.

“A number of us from Eugene like to ride in the rural areas, and this is one of our favorite places to ride,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski, (D-District 4).

“I’ve been a bike rider and bike racer riding with maybe 10 other women in a paceline, and we’ve used this stretch of Lorane Highway for at least 10 to 12 years,” said Eugene resident Kerri VandenBerg.

But these cyclists say the road hasn’t always been the safest.

“Often times we’re riding really close to each other, and there’s not much room in case something unexpected happens or a car needs to maneuver around us,” VandenBerg said.

That’s why Lane County and ODOT have partnered up to improve this six-mile stretch of the Territorial Highway corridor. The two public meetings Monday encouraged everyone to share ideas.

“Their role is…this is a road for the public, and so we really believe that it is important for the public to get involved and help craft the design that will ultimately result from this process,” said Lydia McKinney, Project Manager.

One of those ideas from residents is to widen the road. The road is only about 22 feet wide with little to no shoulder. Prozanski was at the open house Monday and says he’s active in this effort after losing a friend not long ago.

“Six years ago Jane Higdon was out on one of our rides and unfortunately she was killed when her bike went up underneath a log truck. That caused us to reflect on the need to have this portion of the road be upgraded and improved,” Prozanski said.

The county says road improvements like this can take up to 20 years, but with this particular one it could be as soon as four to five.

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