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Oregon Route 62 Rogue Valley Expressway

Much of Oregon Route 62 recently in the Medford Area has been moved from Crater Lake Highway to the Rogue Valley Expressway. 

The Rogue Valley Expressway is a 4.5 mile segment of Oregon Route 62 ("OR 62") which is a limited access bypass of Crater Lake Highway.  The Rogue Valley Expressway begins just south of OR 140 and terminates about a half mile from Interstate 5 ("I-5").  The Rogue Valley Expressway was intended to expedite travel between Medford and White City.  


Part 1; the background of the Rogue Valley Expressway

Much of the history of the Rogue Valley Expressway is discussed in the May issue of ODOT Moving Ahead.  According to ODOT Moving Ahead concepts to move OR 62 from Crater Lake Highway between Medford and White City began to emerge in the 1990s  In 2004 project teams met to narrow down the possible design concepts which would be evaluated for Environmental Impact Statements.  The Rogue Valley Expressway was funded in 2009 via $120 million dollars set aside as part of the Oregon Jobs & Transportation Act.  Construction of the Rogue Valley Expressway began in May 2016 and would open to traffic as mainline OR 62 in May 2019.  



 

Part 2; a drive on the Rogue Valley Expressway

As noted above OR 62 joins the Rogue Valley Expressway just south of OR 140 and White City.  OR 62 westbound makes a right turn off of Crater Lake Highway onto the Rogue Valley Expressway.  The former surface alignment of OR 62 on Crater Lake Highway is signed OR 62 Business.  




Despite being fully limited access and not having any interchanges the Rogue Valley Expressway is signed at a typical Oregon 55 MPH urban freeway speed.


The Rogue Valley Expressway makes a southward jog towards Medford and enters the City Limits at Vilas Road overpass. 





The Rogue Valley Expressway skirts the eastern edge of Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport and merges back into Crater Lake Highway approaching I-5. 









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According to the first draft map, the bypass was going to extend further up current OR-62 to White City. There would have been interchanges at Vilas Road, OR-62 (at or near the current northern end of the bypass) and OR-140 (as a cloverleaf). The 2013 FEIS selected a different longer routing: White City would be bypassed to the west to Dutton Road, eliminating the 140 cloverleaf but adding partial interchanges at existing OR-62 at both ends of White City. The interchange at Vilas road also changed from an SPUI to a tight diamond interchange. At some point, the project was rolled back or split into phase; the Vilas Road interchange was removed, and the bypass now ends at OR-62 between Corey Road and Gregory Road.

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