(Update: Adding video, comments from the city engineer, Bend resident)
City plans public info meeting Feb. 2
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A key, busy intersection in northeast Bend will close around Feb. 22 for a major improvement project expected to take until mid-summer to complete. The major improvements project is going to tackle the intersection of Neff Road and Purcell Boulevard, including the sloped western approach that can add to safety concerns.
The intersection project and primarily the lengthy closure and wide detours have neighbors and drivers asking questions. One concern is how long the project will take.
"This is going to see a lot of improvements," City Project Engineer Drew Wells said Thursday. "Overall, there's been a lot of safety concerns with this intersection."
Wells shared the improvements coming to the Neff-Purcell area.
"We're adding turn lanes to most of the legs, three of the four legs," he said. "So that'll help capacity and safety. Also, just replacing this full signal system, which was meant to be temporary back when it was installed 30 years ago."
There'll also be bike and pedestrian improvements, and the intersection that slopes noticeably to the west will be leveled to provide ADA-compliant crossings.
Bend resident Suzanne Edmiston explained how she feels about the intersection and welcomes the improvement.
"Traffic is frequently backed up all the way from Purcell, all the way over the hill and past the school," she said.
The project carries a cost of several million dollars.
Wells said, "This project is just a little over $7 million all in all, including design and everything. The project for the extensions about $2.5 million. So it's about $10 million between the projects combined."
A lengthy detour is planned to get traffic around the corner of Northeast Neff Road and Purcell Boulevard, a key route to area schools, medical offices, neighborhoods and St. Charles Bend.
That detour uses Eighth Street, Butler Market Road, 27th Street and Highway 20.
“Expect significant traffic impacts,” the city warned in its announcement, urging area residents to sign up for project updates and to plan for the detours and extra travel time.
Edmiston said, "I'm retired, so it's going to be inconvenient. I'm going to have to go around and around to get to Safeway, or else go to a different Safeway. I have to go around to go to Costco, to get to the library."
City officials say the “temporary” traffic signal is past its intended lifespan and approaching capacity, with long backups that lead to safety issues. It’s identified as a high-frequency crash site, and in fact by ODOT as in the top 10% crash locations statewide.
A pre-construction public information meeting is planned on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Deschutes Children’s Foundation, 2125 NE Daggett Lane.
More information can be found on this page of the city's website.