Silverton Road: Detour continues

June 2021 Posted in News, Travel

By James Day

The six-month detour for bridge work on Silverton Road between Silverton and Salem appears to be going well, project officials say.

“Overall the detour has been very successful, although there is always an adjustment period with any detour and this one was no exception,” said Steven Preszler, the project manager with Marion County Public Works. 

The county is replacing the seismically unsafe bridge over the Little Pudding River with a modern upgrade in a $6.4 million project largely funded by the federal government. 

Silverton Road is closed 2.5 miles west of Howell Prairie Road through mid-November, with recommended detour routes Sunnyview or Hazelgreen roads.

The county added temporary traffic signals at Silverton Road-Howell Prairie and the Hazelgreen-Cordon Road intersection to help ease traffic flow. 

“Initially the backups at the Hazelgreen/Cordon temporary signal were fairly long, which seems to have subsided now that drivers are more familiar with the signal operation,” Preszler said.

Still a challenge, particularly for westbound motorists, is that with only one lane of traffic those who want to turn left on Cordon to rejoin Silverton Road can slow down the process for those wishing to continue on Hazelgreen. However, such backups occurred at the intersection when it was governed by a 4-way stop sign, too. 

Preszler said the manner in which the project posted signs needed tweaking.

“We also had to adjust sign placement at either end (of Silverton Road) to better convey that the road was closed and that drivers needed to take one of the signed detours,” Preszler said.  

“I would say that the biggest lesson is to always strive to be as clear and explicit as possible with the signing and pay attention to how sign placement might be sending mixed messages,” he said.

Another minor problem for the project was drivers who ignored the closure.

“Early on while the road was closed but the bridge was still passable, we had a lot of drivers ignoring the signing and driving through the closure,” Preszler said.

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