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OR 18 and 22 Road Improvement Design and Planning Project

Welcome! We are developing a project to improve safety and reduce congestion on OR 18 (Salmon River Highway) and OR 22 (Three Rivers Highway and Hebo Road), between Spirit Mountain Casino and the Fort Hill Road interchange. Our goal is to design a project that benefits local community members, people traveling to work or school, freight and local delivery drivers, tourists and all other road users.

Through this online open house you will learn about the project history, project goals and better understand the planning process. We want to hear from you please take this opportunity to provide feedback on our initial design concepts!

OR 18: Fort Hill Road Project Area

Overview map of the OR 18: Fort Hill Road Project area which includes OR 18 from MP 22.0 to MP 24.0 and OR 22 from OR 18 interchange to MP 24.1 (shown with a yellow line).

(Click on image to enlarge.)


Where did this project come from? Why is it needed? What are the goals?
Learn about the current situation on OR 18 and OR 22, as well as what we've heard from the community.
We took the feedback from the community, along with the existing conditions research, to develop several design concepts.
We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think about the three design concepts.
Learn about the next phase of work and how the design concepts will move forward.

Project History and Purpose

Where did this project come from? Why is it needed? What are the goals?

The need for this project was identified in the 2004 H.B. Van Duzer Forest Corridor to Steel Bridge Road Environmental Assessment and Corridor Refinement Plan due to safety and congestion concerns. In this plan, an interchange is proposed at the OR 18 and OR 22 Valley Junction intersection. This project is taking a fresh look at the Phase 2 information studied in the Environmental Assessment and Corridor Refinement Plan.

The project Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Polk County, developed a project purpose statement and six project goals to guide the project. The intent of this work was to help the project team compare potential design concepts and evaluate what works best for this location and the community. 

Project Purpose Statement: 

The purpose of the OR 18: Fort Hill Project is to enhance safety, reduce congestion and improve mobility on OR 18 from west of Spirit Mountain Casino to Fort Hill Road interchange and on OR 22 from the Valley Junction intersection north, past Kissing Rock.

project management diagram outlining the process to determine goalsProject Goals:

These goals were identified through early discussions with the Steering Committee.

  1. Safety. 
  2. Multimodal mobility.
  3. Community and equity.
  4. Cost and implementation. 
  5. Resiliency. 
  6. Environment. 

The evaluation criteria and steps are outlined in the upcoming stations. 

Note: S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Through the outreach we’ve done to date, the following needs were identified:

  • OR 18 experiences heavy traffic in the project area.
  • Summer weekend traffic is especially heavy, creating considerable delays especially if there is an incident.
  • The amount of traffic on OR 18 makes it difficult for drivers to turn left from OR 22/Hebo Road onto OR 18.
  • Freight traffic has been using alternatives instead of OR 18, which can pose safety issues on local roadways.
  • More crashes are happening with drivers crossing over the middle line into oncoming traffic or rear-ending cars ahead of them.

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Existing Conditions and What We’ve Learned

Understanding the existing conditions in the area helps the project team develop potential design concepts. Traffic safety and congestion data, as well as gathering input from the community, has helped us get a complete picture of what is going on.

Traffic Safety and Congestion Conditions

We have seen how crashes and traffic congestion can be a problem on OR 18. This map shows the locations of crashes from 2015-2019 and the level of traffic congestion. We used this information to help inform the design concepts that you will review later in the open house.

Congestion and Crash Reports in Project Area: 2015-2019

Map of the project area showing congestion and reported crashes from 2015-2019. OR 18 east of the Casino is shown as congested (red line) and OR 22 and OR 18 west of the Casino are shown as green lines (less congested). Crashes locations are shown throughout the area with the most at the intersection of OR 18/22, including two severe or fatal crashes. Additional fatal or severe crashes are shown near Kissing Rock (2) and OR 18 west of MP 24.0 (2).

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Existing Conditions Feedback

Knowing what the data tells us about traffic safety and congestions is important, but understanding the experiences of the community is critical in shaping the outcome of this project. This map below shows a summary of comments collected from our initial round of public feedback earlier this year, when we asked about problems and concerns people experienced.

We heard about:

  • Unsafe speeds.
  • Unsafe intersections.
  • Ideas to adjust the roadway alignments.
  • Ideas to provide increased local access at certain points.

We used this feedback to make sure our design concepts were addressing the needs we heard from the community. 

Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.

Summary of Public Feedback

Zoom in on the map to read the comments we received.
  • Summary of Public Feedback

    Summary of Public Feedback

    Zoom in on the map to read the comments we received.

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Development of Design Concepts

We took the feedback from the community, along with the existing conditions research, to develop several design concepts.

Below are the main elements in the design concepts that address the project purpose and goals:

OR 18 Roadway Widening

Our design concepts widen OR 18, including the roadway and bridges, to four lanes to match the number of lanes that OR 18 has east of the project area.

Having two lanes for each direction will help improve traffic flow by increasing capacity. Adding a median barrier between the east and west lanes improves safety by not allowing vehicles to cross into oncoming traffic.

An Interchange for OR 22 at OR 18

Our design concepts recommend replacing the Valley Junction intersection of OR 22 at OR 18 with a new interchange. This can be accomplished by using the existing interchange, such as the one at the Spirit Mountain Casino, or build a new interchange. See the connectivity concepts information below to learn what this may look like.

An interchange at the current Valley Junction intersection would reduce turning movement issues, allowing drivers to safely access the Spirit Mountain Casino. 

OR 22 Improvements

Changing the highway connection could improve how travelers move through the area, especially trucks. By softening the sharp curves near Kissing Rock, visibility and mobility could make this highway more useable to OR 22 truck traffic.

Project Focus Areas

A map showing the project focus areas including a circle around the Valley Junction interchange (at the intersection of OR 18/22). Green dashed lines are shown around OR 18 to the east and west of the intersection and are labeled "highway and bridge widening"

(Click on image to enlarge.)

To address these issues, the project Steering Committee developed twelve system connectivity concepts. The project team split the concepts into two groups.
  1. Concepts that alter the system by rerouting OR 22 away from the Valley Junction intersection to the existing OR 18 and Fort Hill Road interchange (shown on the map below in blue and labeled SC.1, SC.3, SC.4, SC.5, SC.6, SC.10 and SC.11).
  2. Concepts that enhance or add to the existing system by realigning OR 22 through the Kissing Rock area and using a potential new interchange at either Valley Junction (shown on the map below in red and labeled SC.0, SC.2, SC.8, SC.8E, SC.8W, SC.9), the existing Spirit Mountain Casino interchange (shown on the map below in purple and labeled SC.12) or Grand Ronde Road (shown on the map below in green and labeled SC.7).

The map below shows all of the concepts initially considered.

System Connectivity Concepts

A map showing several "system/continuity (SC) concepts" in a variety of colors

(Click on image to enlarge.)

We evaluated each of these concepts based on how they met our project goals to narrow it down to our top design concepts.

Our analysis found that the Valley Junction concepts that enhance the system (shown in red) were the most promising. More details on the evaluation criteria used to score the concepts, which led us to the top concepts shown in the map below, can be found here.

As we continue working on the design concepts, we will consider additional issues such as interchange location, local connections, improvements for people walking and bicycling and access management.

Top System and Continuity Concepts

Map of the project area showing the top 4 system/continuity (SC) concepts.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

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Feedback on Top Design Concepts

We want to hear your feedback! Please review each concept below and provide comments.

Feedback Our Most Promising Concepts

The following are the most promising project concepts that weigh project goals and issues. All concepts have improved travel time and designs that reduce crashes in the project area. They are still only ideas and will need further planning, analysis and engineering. The final design concept should meet the project goals by balancing the needs of community members, local businesses, freight movement and travelers passing through the area.

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Next Steps

Thank you for taking the time to learn more and get involved in our project. We will use your input to help us advance these concepts to their next phase.

You can stay connected by signing up to receive project alerts or learn more by visiting the project webpage

View a video recording of the May 19 virtual meeting and workshop.

sign up to project alerts visit the project webpage


Below you’ll see a timeline for the project. We will be reaching out again to seek additional feedback and with more project updates in Fall 2021.

A timeline is shown from summer 2020 to summer 2022, with public outreach taking place from the start through spring 2022. Online feedback is shown at fall 2020, spring 2021 (this event), and fall 2021 (September). The Facility planning process takes place from summer 2020 through fall 2021. With the design process from spring 2021 through spring 2022 and the Design Acceptance Package happening in summer 2022.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

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