Mt. Hood Highway Road Safety Audit

KAI was approached by ODOT to conduct a road safety audit (RSA) for Mt. Hood Highway (US 26) on the western slope between Portland and the Mt. Hood recreational facilities (including ski areas during winter season). ODOT has designated much of this corridor as a "Highway Safety Corridor," meaning they have placed a focus on engineering, enforcement and education, and traffic violations will have double fines. The specific limits of the RSA are from the vicinity of the entrance to Camp Creek Campground (vicinity of MP 47.0) to the intersection of Mt. Hood Highway and Timberline Highway (vicinity of MP 54.25). The RSA study area is entirely within the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The corridor is a designated truck route, and moderate truck traffic was observed. This project provided preliminary suggestions addressing high crash locations that include, but are not limited to: installing inlaid reflective pavement markers; standardizing signage and upgraded to high-intensity reflective sheeting; standardizing guardrails; implementing variable speed limits based on weather conditions; shoulder widening in key locations; improving horizontal and vertical alignments in areas with limited impact to surroundings; providing and improving passing opportunities; addressing unacceptable intersection configurations/locations; defining and providing chain-on and chain-off areas; and introducing median barrier to address crossover crashes.

The RSA team included maintenance, operations, and design representatives, and representatives from the Oregon State Police and Highway 26 Safety Corridor Citizen Advisory Committee participated in the pre-audit meeting. The project identified near, medium, and long-term projects, and ODOT has already commenced installation of the near-term projects totaling $150,000. Additionally, design projects have commenced for many of the medium to long-term safety improvements, and construction is set for 2013 for a total of $9 million.