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Protesters gather amid plans to reduce lanes on Highway 58

One major project included in the final draft is to reduce the number of lanes on Highway 58 from four lanes total to one lane in each direction. It also includes adding bike lanes.

Posted: Jul 12, 2020 10:02 PM
Updated: Jul 13, 2020 10:53 AM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. --- Around 30 people in Oakridge protested changes outlined in the city's transportation system plan on Sunday afternoon. 

One major project included in the final draft is to reduce the number of lanes on Highway 58 from four lanes total to one lane in each direction. It also includes adding bike lanes. 

Protesters walked across the highway's crosswalk repeatedly to slow traffic and bring attention to the issue. 

They told KEZI 9 News that a lot of trucks go through Oakridge and this plan would make traffic worse. 

"20 odd years ago this town worked like the devil to get two lanes. We're a major truck route. Truck traffic and city traffic could coexist at the same time without a traffic jam," Oakridge resident Dennis Richardson said. 

However, others told KEZI 9 News they believe the lane reduction would create a safer environment for pedestrians and bicyclists. Plus they say it would bring in more customers to local businesses. 

"If we reduce the lanes on 58 we will have a safer, healthier community. We will have more people stopping at local businesses, we will have more ability for pedestrians to move from one local business to another," owner of Westfir Lodge Noah Sunflower said. 

City council will vote on the plan on Thursday.

There would be a year-long pilot project to study how the highway would operate with the new configuration. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation would need to approve the plan before moving forward.

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