ODOT project as a waste of taxpayer dollars

Guest opinion by
Carol Crockett
Winharbor Farms

The Oregon Department of Transportation has spent $1 million for studies of Project 13772 and plans to spend $2.4 million more for a traffic signal at Constitution Way at the entrance to the City of Brookings and to relocate an existing weigh station approximately four miles south to McVay Lane. The original justification was based, in part, on the need for both north and south Heavy Truck Inspection which has now been abandoned, as well as the new Weigh-In-Motion technology for inspection and the automatic collection of Oregon ton-mile fees for heavy trucks. The funds are $267,000 from Oregon State funds, and the balance is from Federal Highway funds.

This proposal to relocate the weigh station at McVay Lane was heard before the Curry County Planning Commission for a Conditional Use Permit and was denied unanimously. The findings of fact were traffic safety issues and pedestrian and bicycle safety traveling on Hwy 101. ODOT did not demonstrate the need for the weigh station; did not address concerns of storm water runoff toward farm lands west of Hwy 101, and no visible improvement to existing site conditions at Hwy 101 and McVay Lane intersections. This proposed northbound weigh station will not weigh any trucks from the local area.

The McVay Lane location lies between two steep blind hills, with 125 homes, 13 businesses and ten major accesses. The two-lane goes into four-lane opposite the proposed weigh scale building in a 55 mph zone. More water and pollution will flow through the farm at the culverts from an acre of impervious surface added by the truck lane. This busy four-mile Hwy 101 corridor needs to be redesigned and marked, to provide safe travel conditions for all current and future users and to accommodate residential and commercial development along this section of US Hwy 101. The largest amount of UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) lies both east and west of Hwy 101 at north McVay Lane. Newly proposed connecting roads for the Harbor Hills may further add congestion and greater drainage in this Area of Special Concern and Hazardous Rapidly Moving Landslide Area. Building this weigh station at McVay Lane jeopardizes Public Safety on Hwy 101, ignores impact on Agriculture and Commercial lots and does not even meet ODOT objectives to test all trucks and generate revenue. It is already an obsolete facility. “This proposed relocation at McVay Lane will need to be moved in a few years and is a waste of taxpayer monies,” Lucie LaBonte, Curry County Commissioner, who denied the necessary Conditional Use Permit.