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Jarod Johnson with the Oregon Department of Transportation met with Klamath County Commissioners Wednesday morning to discuss updates and future plans for the Brett Way roundabout and Highway 140 safety projects.

Johnson said the road corridor expansion and guardrail project along Lakeshore Drive and Highway 140 West would be completed in three phases and start in spring 2021. It will go to bid in 2021, he said.

Previous Herald and News stories report the total cost for the effort to come to $20.5 million, primarily paid for with a federal grant with Klamath County contributing about $1.93 million from reserve funds.

Johnson said nine landowners would be affected by the project. ODOT will not remove any of the 30 access points along the project area, Johnson said. Major changes will include 12-foot lanes with six-foot paved shoulders on both road sides, minor curve realignment and continuous guardrail along the lake.

They will also add pullouts to increase lake access, Johnson said.

Brett Way roundabout

Johnson and commissioners also discussed future steps for the planned $9.5 million project to add a roundabout to Highway 140 and Homedale Road, cutting down traffic and wrecks in the area.

A previous board of commissioners agreed to put $850,000 toward the project, but commissioners have now been asked to donate two properties in the area totaling about $300,000 in value.

ODOT has agreed to return any unused portions of these properties back to the county and to maintain 12 lots on Homedale Road that will be taken up by it. Johnson said they were also brainstorming a way to secure more spaces at the project site for the county to use for things like school bus pullouts, bike lanes and mailboxes.

In the meeting, Donnie Boyd expressed concern that tax-payers would essentially be putting $1,050,000 toward the project.

Boyd said he was ultimately supportive of it and believed it would benefit citizens, but wants to negotiate for the state to do more for the community; perhaps they could maintain the nearby Landrum Wayside historic marker and roadside stop on Highway 97, he said.

Commissioner Morris agreed with this idea. Johnson said he would take the idea to ODOT.

Commissioners requested ODOT draft a new agreement regarding the project to include values of these properties as well as explicit language to give back unused county property.