One of the worst commutes in Oregon is the afternoon drive south through Wilsonville on Interstate 5.
That segment of road was one of the most popular suggestions for the "Driving Me Crazy" series, for good reason: On any given day the commute from Tigard to Wilsonville can turn into total gridlock.
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“It’s one of the worst stretches of road in the state,” said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Don Hamilton. “It’s always been a bottleneck in there.
“That area has grown substantially in the last two decades. The traffic has grown substantially in the last two decades correspondingly.”
In that time, ODOT’s traffic count through Wilsonville has more than doubled, now up to about 130,000 vehicles per day, and that outpaces recent improvements.
“We’ve been able to expand sections of the road, but we haven’t been able to keep pace with the growth,” Hamilton said.
Driving Me Crazy:
- Cedar Hills Boulevard
- St. Johns Bridge backup
- Brand new Sellwood Bridge
- Study: Oregon is the 6th-best state to drive in
People have sounded off about the commute on Facebook.
"Rush hour gets Wilsonville Rd backed up in both directions almost every day," viewer Jenny said. "After 4, you can’t even get out of the Fred Meyer parking lot. Ridiculous."
Susan Snell asked, “Why does southbound always get better after the bridge, and always slows down after there going northbound?”
The Boone Bridge just south of the Wilsonville Road is a big part of that commute bottleneck. The northbound side has an auxiliary lane, and the southbound side could certainly use one. Sixty percent of the traffic entering southbound I-5 at Wilsonville Road gets off at the very next exit.
“There are weekly accidents that add to the already bad congestion,” viewer Susan Parcher pointed out.
Yes there are.
An ODOT study between 2011 and 2015 noted 137 crashes on southbound I-5 in the Wilsonville area. They were mostly sideswipes and rear-enders, attributed to the weaving and merging of traffic around the on and off ramps.
ODOT said that adding an auxiliary lane would eliminate a lot of merging, along with the subsequent sideswipes and rear-end crashes.
So clearly something can be done to help with congestion in that area, and ODOT told us that’s up for discussion this spring – including the possible southbound auxiliary lane.
I-5 is part of the northwest lifeline, and the Boone Bridge is also due for a seismic upgrade.
There will be an open house on Wednesday Mar. 14, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Wilsonville City Hall
Oregon is the sixth best state to drive in. Say wuh? Driving Me Crazy is making its return to KGW News at Sunrise. What do you want to vent about? Can it be fixed?Posted by Chris McGinness on Tuesday, January 30, 2018