PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As traffic on Southwest Farmington Road increases so, too, do the concerns of many local residents.
The roadway is considered an urban artery but neighbors are looking to transportation officials to make changes following recent deadly crashes.
Two people were killed in a head-on crash near the intersection of Southwest Farmington and Southwest 196th Avenue in August.
Tragic collisions like this have raised safety concerns but changes or improvements may not come easily.
“Every time we see a road like this that used to be a rural area and is now becoming much more populated, we’re looking around, trying to find out what we can do to help the growth in these areas,” said ODOT spokesperson Don Hamilton.
Any potential changes would also require the involvement of multiple groups. Part of Southwest Farmington is maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation while another stretch is maintained by Washington County.
“Washington County has done everything we can to be as proactive as we can in developing safety improvement and congestion on these roads,” said Melissa De Lyser with Washington County Land Use and Transportation.
Different government agencies means different projects.
Southwest Farmington has newer sidewalks, bike lanes and lights and signals near Hazeldell Elementary where the road is maintained by Washington County. It was also widened to three lanes to include a turn lane.
But the roadway is very different at the intersection with Southwest 198th Avenue: a single bike path replaces sidewalks and a third lane disappears.
Hamilton said ODOT doesn’t have any projects planned for the area but they are “keeping an eye on it.”
In 2017, ODOT tracked an average of 16,000 to 19,000 daily drivers along Southwest Farmington; that’s more than 4 million trips a year. Just 41 crashes were recorded that year, including one that was deadly.
“The story that a road tells is critical for what we do and it’s more than just the crash factors on there,” Hamilton said. “We’re also looking at the congestion, we’re looking at the traffic, we’re looking at the growth of a neighborhood. We need to find out the story of a road before we move forward.”
To report a traffic safety concern to ODOT, call 866.ASK.ODOT. In Washington County, to request a service or report a road-related problem, call 503.846.ROAD or use the online service request form.