WINCHESTER, Ore. -- Old Highway 99 North is getting some major road improvements with hopes of ensuring safety for pedestrians.
Officials from Douglas County Public Works said they started on the Winchester Improvement Project earlier this year. The project aims to put in more pedestrian bridges, sidewalks and bike lanes for residents commuting to Umpqua Community College and surrounding areas.
Officials said crews have started construction on the south pedestrian bridge near Taft Drive and Virgia Lane and will be working in the area for the next two weeks.
Construction will begin on the north pedestrian bridge in September and they expect to finish in October.
Scott Adams with Douglas County Public Works said this is one of the biggest projects the county has worked on in a while, costing them $8 million to complete.
“This project has been on the county’s transit improvement plan for many years, so as we go along with funding and whatnot, we prioritized it, and it was the next one on our list,” said Adams.
Some local businesses are frustrated with how long construction is taking.
Megan Nolet, the manager at Log Cabin Grocery and Deli on Old Highway 99 North said they haven’t seen many customers this summer because of the construction.
“People don’t realize that we’re pretty easily accessible,” said Nolet. "I think those cones that they put up have made people think they can’t get in here easily.”
However, Adams wants residents and businesses in the area to know that they’re doing everything they can to make sure traffic runs smoothly for the rest of the duration of construction.
He said the project was supposed to span over two summers, but officials decided to spend more money to do it all at once to avoid longer road closures.
For more information on the Winchester Improvement Project, click here.