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Residents seek improvements to Highway 126 after fatal crash

According to residents, Highway 126 has been a problem for years, especially during the summer. And people who live along the busy stretch say it's time for a change.

Posted: Jul 2, 2021 6:41 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- A double-fatal crash on Highway 126 has left residents of Veneta wanting more improvements. 

As of right now, there are no updates on the identities of the two people killed. Highway 126 was closed for hours and didn't reopen until 2 p.m. on Friday. 

Related Link: Fatal Crash closes Highway 126 near Veneta

According to residents, Highway 126 has been a problem for years, especially during the summer. And people who live along the busy stretch say it's time for a change. 

Veneta residents Gary and Cecilia Noble said they've seen a lot of crashes on the highway in the 40 years they've lived there together. 

"We hear a lot of sirens where we live, recently in the last month," said Cecilia Noble. 

Oregon Department of Transportation officials said they are working on improvements. Spokeswoman Angela Beers-Seydel said they are working on a project called the Fern Ridge Corridor Plan. It includes repaving, restriping, and other improvements. 

"We recognize that there are safety concerns on Highway 126 as there are on other roads," said Beers-Seydel. 

This plan is currently under environmental and design review to see what can be done long-term. According to Beers-Seydel, that includes providing passing opportunities, safe travel spaces for pedestrians and bicycles, and similar changes. 

But there is no long-term completion date, and funding is still up in the air. 

Meanwhile, residents along the highway say they're fed up. 

"Because it's not safe. I want to make sure I can get down the highway just making that turn," said Cecilia Noble. 

And with holiday travel increasing to the coast, resident Joann Smith fears that more crashes are coming.

"You just need to take your time getting where you're going because it's not worth this," said Joann Smith. 

Stay with KEZI 9 News for more updates.

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