Central Oregon agencies get federal funds for road safety projects

 The Bend Bulletin

Four Central Oregon agencies will receive $760,000 combined in federal funds to plan road safety projects, federal lawmakers announced Monday.

The money will go to Crook County, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Deschutes County and the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization, according to a press release from Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Ore., and Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both Democrats.

“Oregonians in every corner of the state deserve safe streets in their communities,” Merkley said in the press release. “These investments will transform Oregon’s roadways into safer places for bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers.”

The funds are a part of a $2.6 million package for jurisdictions around Oregon, which came from an $82 million-grant program from the U.S. Department Department of Transportation. Those funds were made available through the department’s Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program, which was a part of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

In Central Oregon, the funds will help update or create safety action plans for each jurisdiction. Those plans aim to reduce deaths and injuries on Oregon’s roads.

Bend and Deschutes County have existing safety action plans while Crook County and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs do not.

In Warm Springs, $320,000 will kickstart a plan to evaluate crash trends, road conditions and driver behaviors to figure out how to address any problems, according to an award summary from the federal transportation department.

Crook County plans to use $96,000 to focus on accommodating past and future population growth and its impact on the county’s roads, especially state Highway 126.

In addition to updating its existing plan, Deschutes County, which will receive $144,000, will conduct road safety audits with the funds. The Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization will use its $200,000 to update its plan while also incorporating new technologies into the transportation system, which include utilizing video analytics and accommodating personal mobility devices such as electric wheelchairs.