As work on South Canal Boulevard winds down, Redmond is looking toward its next big project. And work on South Highway 97 could mean more construction on Canal.

The city and the Oregon Department of Transportation are planning stakeholder meetings on the Highway 97 project in April. City Engineer Mike Caccavano said the preferred plan calls for a highway with a concrete median, with four traffic signals added south of the existing signal at the Veterans Way intersection. One signal would be at Pumice, as well at intersections with new sections of street that connect into Canal. According to a map from the city and transportation department, one new street will be an extension of SW Quartz Avenue (running next to the Ford dealership), one between NW Salmon and Reindeer avenues (next to Motel 6) and one between SW Umatilla and Volcano avenues (by the Coastal Farm store).

While the Highway 97 intersections with the new streets will have traffic signals, plans call for each of the new street sections to intersect with South Canal at a new roundabout — meaning three new roundabouts could be put in, along with the one being planned at Pumice and Canal.

But Caccavano said the additional roundabouts could be years away, if they are built at all. The city could end up deciding to use stop signs at the new Canal intersections.

“We’re going to work all that into the transportation five-year plan, once the South 97 corridor gets nailed down,” he said.

More U-turn lanes are planned to help drivers reach businesses on Highway 97, Caccavano said. Also, a “backage road” is shown going from behind KFC to behind McDonald’s, between Highway 97 and the railroad tracks. It is designed to give drivers alternative access to businesses.

The upgrades will be safer, removing the potentially dangerous center-lane, as well as more efficient, Caccavano said.

“If you’re driving through Redmond, your travel time will be less, even though there are more signals,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com

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