As requested by the neighbors of SE Moore and Bay Roads, who are opposed to log trucks passing by their homes enroute to the new International Terminal, Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda provided the city council this week with a tabulation of traffic accidents that have occurred at both Highway 20 and Moore as well as at Moore and Bay Roads from 2003 to today.
Chief Miranda’s report showed that there have been 14 traffic crashes at Highway 20 and Moore, and two crashes at Moore and Bay. There were no crashes on Moore itself.
Of the 14 that occurred at Highway 20 and Moore over the nearly ten year period, 8 of them were caused by drivers’ failure to obey the signal light; five were caused by improper or dangerous left turns and one crash was labeled “unknown.”
Of the 2 that occurred at the bottom of Moore at Bay, both were caused by drivers failing to obey the stop signs; one headed east, the other headed west.
Chief Miranda says there have not been enough enough crashes on Moore to create a definitive analysis. Ten years of data, he says, can only illustrate past problems. Chief Miranda says data over the past three years shows that the problems are minimal. But neighbors say just one crash involving a 40 ton log truck, with a full load going downhill, can cause more damage and injuries than ten years of “routine” crashes on any stretch of roadway. Log truck defenders contend that no one can remember a single log truck accident on Moore Road in the decades they used it through the 1990’s.
In addressing traffic concerns, the Moore Road Task Force, made up of Port, City and citizen members, has recommended slowing down westbound traffic on Highway 20 farther to the east as it approaches the light at Moore and Highway 20. The task force also recommends pulling the northbound Moore Road stop line a bit farther downhill to give log trucks a wider area to complete left turns off Highway 20 onto Moore.
At the bottom of the hill, at the intersection of Moore and Bay, the task force is recommending intersection improvements to include LED stop signs on Bay to enhance visibility, realignment of east and westbound Bay lanes for enhanced sight distance and a wider upslope turn from Bay to Moore in front of the bank.
The task force has turned its attention to trying to come up with a different route from Highway 20 to the International Terminal. But hopes of that happening anytime soon were recently dashed by statements from city and ODOT officials who said competition for funds for such costly highway projects is quite fierce. They said the fact that the terminal already has a designated route devoted to it would most certainly put it at the bottom of the priority list.