Highway 126 West
Objective: Secure approval of a safety solution (for example, enforcing safe speeds) for Highway 126 between Veneta and Eugene that is more effective, cheaper and can happen sooner.
The stretch of Highway 126 between Veneta and Eugene is dangerous. There are a growing number of crashes. BEST supports Vision Zero, the goal of zero traffic deaths or life-changing injuries. In particular, BEST supports effective actions to make Highway 126 safer for all travelers.
ODOT’s proposed solution is to widen the section of highway from the current 2 lanes to as much as 4 lanes, plus a center turn lane, 2 shoulders, a separated multi-use path for people walking or bicycling, and possibly roundabouts a some intersections.
ODOT estimates it will cost $250 million to 350 million to construct the seven-mile project. The cost is so large that it could be years or even decades before sufficient funding could be cobbled together to complete the project. During that time, we can expect to see more tragedies.
According to ODOT, the current National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study, Phase 2 of the project, will take about 18-24 months (March 2020- March 2022) to complete:
- Field work began in April 2020 and is expected to be complete in September 2020.
- Public engagement began spring 2020 and will run through the spring 2021.
This is a planning study, with no funding for design and construction. If funding can be found later, the design process will take about 18 months, and construction will take approximately two years.
- Highway 126 West News (BEST)
- FHWA regulations justifying classifying the OR 126: Veneta to Eugene NEPA Study as a categorical exclusion? (1000 Friends of Oregon & 350 Eugene to ODOT, January 20, 2022)
- ODOT planning to expand Highway 126 between Eugene and Veneta (KPIC, 1/13/23)
- Community Advocates Declare Round One Victory over ODOT on Proposed Rose Quarter Freeway Expansion (No More Freeways, 3/17/22)
- Why the Concept of Induced Demand Is a Hard Sell (Governing, 2/28/22)
- Rob Zako: ODOT will use ‘categorical exclusion’ for Highway 126 expansion (Whole Community News, 2/16/22)
- Oregon will fail its climate goals if ODOT acts on big freeway projects, environmentalists say (Oregonian, 11/28/21)
- Eugene Street Repair Bond currently passing in Special Election (KVAL, 11/7/17)
- Joshua Skov and Emily Semple: Approve the Street Repair Bond Measure (Eugene, Weekly, 10/26/17)
- City Club of Eugene: Eugene Street Repair Bond Measure – What is proposed in this round? (KLCC, 10/23/17)
- Project Page (ODOT)
- LaneACT Meeting (January 12, 2022)
- Project Steering Committee Meeting #4 (October 28, 2021)
- Project Open House #2 (April 26–May 9, 2021)
- Summary (June 2021)
- Project Open House #1 (September 8–25, 2020)
- Summary (October 2020)
- Highway 126 Fern Ridge Corridor Plan (January 2013)
- A (Citizen’s) Guide to Transportation Decisionmaking (Federal Highway Administration, 2009)
- Environmental Review Toolkit (Federal Highway Administration)
- Federal-aid Essentials for Local Public Agencies (Federal Highway Administration)
- Determining NEPA Class of Action (Federal Transit Administration)
- SHIFT (State Highway Induced Frequency of Travel) Calculator (Rocky Mountain Institute)
If you would like to get more engaged in efforts around Highway 126 West, ask to join BEST’s ad hoc Google Group.