ODOT designates safety corridor on OR 22W between Red Prairie Road and OR 223 in Polk County

April 30, 2020                                        For more information: Lou Torres (503) 986-2880

4-64-R2                                                                                louis.c.torres@odot.state.or.us

OR 22W safety corridor begins on May 13

SALEM— The Oregon Department of Transportation is designating a new safety corridor on OR 22W from Buell to Dallas, a 10-mile stretch in Polk County that has seen an increase in crashes in the past five years.

Safety corridors are designed to raise public awareness. Traffic fines will double and motorists will see an increase in law enforcement patrols on OR 22W (Willamina-Salem Highway) between Red Prairie Road (Buell) and the junction with OR 223 (Kings Valley Highway) that connects to Dallas. ODOT is asking people to always use safe driving habits on this stretch of road.

This section of Willamina-Salem Highway has a higher fatal and serious injury crash rate than other similar rural highways. A local traffic safety group will be established with the goal to reduce these traffic crashes. The group will include representatives from law enforcement, state and county road authorities, emergency medical personnel, and community members.

“Having 30 fatal and serious injury crashes in five years – and 180 total crashes – in this 10-mile stretch of highway is not acceptable,” said ODOT Region 2 Manager Sonny Chickering.

Most of the crashes in this section of roadway involve speeding, lane departure, turning vehicles at intersections, distracted driving, or unsafe passing.

“Safety is the most important thing to remember when you get behind the wheel. We know that driving violations, such as speeding, driving impaired or distracted, or riding without a safety belt, are major factors in roadway departure crashes that result in serious crashes,” said ODOT Region 2 Traffic Safety Coordinator, Nicole Charlson. “If we can change that behavior, we can reduce traffic injuries.”

ODOT is already taking steps to improve safety in the corridor. Later this spring, we will install a Through Route Activated Warning System at the OR 22W and Perrydale Road intersection. This advanced warning system helps warn travelers on OR 22W that traffic is approaching the intersection from Perrydale Road. Sensors picking up traffic on Perrydale activate a flashing beacon on OR 22W warning travelers of the approaching traffic.

Other steps to improve safety include:

  • Funding overtime enforcement patrols
  • Installing SAFETY CORRIDOR and FINES DOUBLE signs
  • Eliminating passing zone sections that were too short for safe passing maneuvers
  • Installing durable striping, centerline and shoulder rumble strips to reduce lane departure crashes and provide better visibility of pavement markings during wet or rainy conditions
  • Updating curve warning signs to improve safety in curves and enhancing signing at curves with a history of crashes


To learn more about countermeasures to help prevent roadway departure crashes, visit: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/countermeasures/


To learn more about ODOT’s Transportation Safety Programs, visit:  http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/


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