There are hundreds of roads in Jackson County, some more dangerous than others.
Number 5 on the countdown: Blackwell Road
“Cars come over the hill very very fast,” said Blackwell Road resident, Lani Rossetta.
The road drops down and winds into three curves, the last of which, some refer to as “Deadman’s Curve.”
“It’s a location where we’ve had three fatalities over the last three years.”
All the sharp curves and high speeds are a recipe for disaster.
“We have seen accidents where the curves are,” said Rossetta.
The high rate of accidents on Blackwell Road is prompting Jackson County to take action.
“We’re taking three curves and straightening them out,” said Mike Kuntz, a Jackson County engineer.
Number 4 on the list: East Evans Creek Road
“It kind of is one of the most dangerous roads i’ve seen,” said Leah Lingfield who lives near a sharp corner on East Evans Creek.
She said she has learned to stay away from the road.
“We just watched an accident happen in front of us,” recalled Lingfield.
“You can hear them just gun it, so you don’t have a chance if someone comes around that corner […] If you go off the road there’s nothing but gravel so you’re gonna lose control,” she said.
For now, East Evans Creek Road remains on a list of potential road fixes, but nothing is expected to happen anytime soon.
“If we had more funding, we could do more work,” said Mike Kuntz.
Coming in at number 3: Table Rock Road.
“[It’s] one of the highest crash rates in the county is at Table Rock and Gregory roads […] it doesn’t have a lot of left turn lanes and we get a lot of crashes there. We have money on the books to install left turn lanes in 2014,” said Kuntz.
In recent years Table Rock Road has had 35 non-alcohol related injury accidents.
“A road like Table Rock Road has a very high volume […] the more vehicles you have, the more opportunity,” explained Kuntz.
Many of the accidents are a result of drivers failing to yield.
“I’ve been rear-ended twice, both on Table Rock Road,” said driver Jeannie Savage.
The 2nd most dangerous roadway in Jackson County: Highway 99
“You have large volumes of traffic, lots of accesses, driveways, roadways,” said Greg Leaming with the Oregon Department of Transportation.
One section of Highway 99 is part of the top five percent of crash sites in the state.
The number of crashes have steadily climbed over the past few years.
Many of the accidents here are due to heavy congestion and cars trying to cross lanes of traffic.
“You pull out in front of someboy you’re going to get clobbered,” said David Richardson who frequently drives Highway 99.
ODOT says they’re looking at potentially making Elm Street a right turn only onto 99, but it’s unknown when or if the estimated $500,000 project will happen.
Number 1 on the dangerous roads countdown: Crater Lake Highway
“We have a list of the top 5% of sites that have a high crash history […] we’re standing at one right now,” said Leaming
Sections of Highway 62 have more traffic than I-5 north of Medford as far as the sheer number of cars every day and officials say all that traffic contributes to the high number of accidents.
In 2011 alone, there were more than 300 crashes and two fatalities on Crater Lake Highway.
ODOT said they’re aware of the problem areas and they’re planning to fix them.
“Starting next year we’re going to begin our Highway 62 project which has been in the works for 8 years,” Leaming said.
It’s a project that’s costing $120 million.
Now you know the most dangerous roads in our area. Next time you drive them, pay close attention.
What’s the “safest” road in Jackson County
Road officials said Interstate 5 is the safest road in Southern Oregon. While there is more traffic, they said there are fewer areas where traffic intersects.
What you can do about a dangerous road
If you would like to report a dangerous road, you can contact the Jackson County Roads Department at 541-774-8184. You can also visit their website where you can send them comments or an e-mail.
For state highways, call the Oregon Department of Transportation at 541-774-6299.
Jackson County also has a Traffic Safety Committee. They meet every second Friday of the month at 9AM. Meetings are held at the Jackson County Roads Department located at 200 Antelope Rd. White City.
In Josephine County, the Traffic Safety Committee meets every third Wednesday at 1:30 in the afternoon. The meetings are held at the Josephine County Public Works building located at 201 River Heights Way in Grants Pass.
Below are links to additional resources: