Highway 99 project expected to bring big benefits to Talent

Talent, Ore.– Construction started Monday on a $5.4 million project that will build numerous enhancements along a stretch of Oregon Highway 99 from Talent to Ashland.

While some parts of the project are necessities for O-DOT, like storm drains, gutters and fresh pavement, the city of Talent is also contributing $400,000 for the benefits it will bring to the city.

Gary Leaming with the Oregon Department of Transportation said the project will benefit motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists by adding in curbs, sidewalks, gutters and bike lanes, as well as new pavement and striping.

“For Talent especially it was one they wanted in that section to bring that area of Highway 99 up so that there were defined driveways, there were sidewalks and bike lanes in that area. So that was a nice thing,” Leaming said.

In a release, Talent Mayor Darby Ayers-Flood wrote, “this will be one of the pivotal projects for Talent and its future,” saying it will increase safety, livability and economic development potential.

Prime contractor Knife River Materials began excavation Monday for the project that will incljude

According to O-DOT, the construction will modify the existing highway at these distinct sections, each with bike lanes on both sides:

Rapp Rd. to Creel Rd.: three lane section with center turn lane, bike lane and sidewalks.

Creel Rd. to Talent Ave.: three lane section with center turn lane and bike lanes.

From Talent Ave. to South Valley View Rd.:  one lane southbound and two lanes northbound.  Northbound left turn refuge onto Talent Ave.

South Valley View Rd. to Jackson Rd.: five lane section with bike lanes on each side.

Jackson Rd. to Ashland City Limits: three lane section with center turn lane and bike lanes. This will match with Ashland’s existing North Main St. configuration, and help connect riders to the Bear Creek Greenway near South valley View Road.

NBC5 News anchor and reporter Kristina Zagame is from Boston, Massachusetts. She comes to us from KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri where she was the evening anchor and executive producer.

Kristina received her degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She spent a summer interning for an international online magazine in Santiago, Chile. She also covered Hurricane Maria relief efforts in the Virgin Islands.

When she’s not in the newsroom, Kristina loves exploring, dancing and live music.

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