Three sections of OR 211 through Molalla nearly a year overdue for speed limit reduction
Update at 3:03 p.m. March 10
ODOT region one maintenance operations manager Ted Miller said a sign crew is scheduled to come out to Molalla to locate and mark the new speed signs next week. He said after that, the signs can be expected to be installed within a few weeks.
Miller cited "a lot of high-level high-priority projects" as well as winter weather road damage for the delays in other lower-priority projects.
"We are just hammered with priority signs that have been knocked down," Miller said. "Stop signs are the highest priority, so they have just been way more busy than usual."
Molalla Public Works director Gerald Fisher recently happened upon an April 2016 speed study that showed the approval of the recommendation for the reduction of speed along several stretches of OR 211 through Molalla.
The recommended speed changes derived from the speed study were approved on April 7, 2016 by the Oregon Department of Transportation State Traffic Engineer, but the changes in the speed limit haven't actually been made yet.
"I was working late one night, and I went ahead and took a drive down 211 to compare what was supposed to be in versus what's in there now, and found that they hadn't changed the signs yet," Fisher said. "So I sent an email to ODOT requesting information on who is responsible for making sure that gets done because it's been 11 months."
There are three sections along OR 211 that were approved for a speed limit change after the study: a 1.2-mile stretch from OR 213 down to Thelander Lane (from 40MPH down to 35MPH); a 0.64-mile stretch from 50 feet west of Lola Avenue to 450 feet west of Shirley Street (from 35MPH down to 30MPH); and a 0.82-mile stretch from 450 feet west of Shirley Street to 0.22 miles east of S. Vaughan Road (55MPH down to 45MPH).
According to crash data that was studied from Jan. 1, 2012 to Dec. 31, 2014, there were 31 total crashes and 21 injuries in the first section, 13 crashes and 12 injuries in the second section, and 15 crashes, 22 injuries, and one fatality in the third section out near Shirley Street.
The study shows that in the first section, in which the ten MPH range containing the largest number of sample vehicles was 34-43 MPH, 27 percent of drivers exceed the 40MPH speed limit. In the second, where the range was 27-36MPH, 12 percent exceeded the 35MPH speed limit. In the third area, where the range was 42-51MPH, three percent exceeded the 55MPH speed limit in the third section.
The requested speeds for those three areas originally were 35MPH, 25MPH, and 40MPH, respectively. The approved speed limits for all three sections are five MPH over those originally requested limits when the investigation was sought out by former Molalla Public Works Director Jennifer Cline.
A representative from ODOT was unable to provide details on why the speed changes haven't been made yet, but this story will be updated when further information is obtained.