By Lauren Brown
Burns Times-Herald

Local citizens and business owners met with Oregon Department of Transportation representatives once more on Jan. 29 to receive input on revamping the Highway 20/Monroe Street intersection for safety reasons.

The proposed changes to the intersection near Teague Motor Co. wouldn’t occur until the year 2010 and would be paid for by an ODOT grant. ODOT Senior Planner Patrick Knight and Region 5 Traffic/ Access Engineer Tom Kuhlman (as well as representatives from CH2M Hill) have been working closely with the City of Burns and local citizens to make sure the changes will not be a major disruption to area businesses.

According to the meeting minutes, small changes were made to driveway entrances to satisfy business owners bordering the highway in that area. Possibly moving the Les Schwab and Greater Oregon Credit Union signs was discussed as well as a couple of statues.

Burns City Councilor Len Vohs attended the meeting and said additional lighting around the intersection and further down the highway by the cemetery was also discussed. In an interview after the meeting Vohs said the ODOT grants that would pay for the remodeling of the intersection likely would not pay for more lighting, however, he said the issue of funds for lighting would require more discussion.

There was much discussion surrounding the issue of changing the highway from four lanes to three lanes. There are pros and cons to each lane configuration and the city believes more public input is needed. The council will provide residents with an update on the intersection plans at the Feb. 13 council meeting and will also set a date for discussion on three versus four lanes.
Knight will draw up new maps for the city with the most recent revisions to the intersection.

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