Interstate 305 Oregon

Planned Routing

Interstate 305 was the designation applied to a planned, 3.3-mile freeway spur from Interstate 5 southwest into the capital city of Oregon. The Oregon Department of Transportation submitted Interstate 305 as a proposal to the federal government in November 1968, and the department officially withdrew the route from consideration in September 1977. 1

History

Historically, Interstate 305 appeared on maps between 1970 and 1975 parallel to Oregon 99E (U.S. 99E/Pacific Highway) from Interstate 5 southwest into Salem. Early proposals saw the freeway closer to Pacific Highway between Highland Avenue and Interstate 5. Later renditions pushed Interstate 305 further north between the one-way street couplet of Commercial and Liberty Street at Tryon Avenue northeast roughly along the Salem and Keizer city line to Interstate 5. Neither of these proposals however came to fruition as envisioned.

The official publication Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregonís Interstates only references one route for Interstate 305, along with one proposed extension. According to that publication, Interstate 305 was originally slated to begin at Keizer on Interstate 5 and follow Chemawa Road, continuing southwest into downtown Salem. The Interstate 305 freeway project was modified when the route was proposed to extend another 2.34 miles. This additional mileage was to include a new bridge across the Willamette River, where Interstate 305 would interchange with Oregon 22 (also known as Willamina-Salem Highway Number 30).1

Controversy for Interstate 305 originated with the Federal Highway Administration, when it deferred approving the freeway because the organization did not like the proposed 2.34-mile southern extension of Interstate 305. This delay in approval, which pushed the project into the early 1970s, made the project eligible for environmental review (Environmental Impact Statement). Community groups heard of the project and while some protested, others came out in support of the project. Meanwhile, the local governments (city of Salem, Marion County, and association of local governments), seeing the fledgling controversy and an opportunity to move money to other needs, voted to transfer funds from Interstate 305 to other local transportation projects. These resolutions were passed in December 1976. Within a year (by September 1977), Interstate 305 was formally removed from the Oregon Interstate Highway System, and the funds were reallocated.

Instead of construction resulting in a freeway spur into Salem, Oregon instead built a four-lane surface highway named the Salem Parkway. The parkway follows the northernmost planned alignment of Interstate 305 between Interstate 5 at Exit 258 southwest to Commercial and Liberty Streets north of downtown Salem. Salem Parkway carries Oregon 99E Business between Commercial and Liberty and Chemawa Road (Interstate 5 Exit 260). Oregon 99E saw relocation from Portland Road (former Pacific Highway) onto Interstate 5 southward at Exit 258. Oregon 99E and Oregon 99E Business merge at the intersection of Portland Road and Hazelgreen Road and Chemawa Road east of Interstate 5 Exit 260.

Southern Terminus - Commercial & Liberty Streets - Salem, Oregon
Perspective from Oregon 99 Business / Salem Parkway southbound
Salem Parkway (planned Interstate 305) draws to a close at Liberty Street (Oregon 99 Business northbound). Oregon 99 Business continues south and merges directly onto Commercial Street. Commercial and Liberty Street form a one-way street couplet for Oregon 99 Business between Salem Parkway and Downtown. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (11/28/04).
Perspective from Oregon 99 Business (Liberty Street) northbound
The first advisory signs for Salem Parkway on northbound Business Oregon 99E appear at the Pine Street traffic signal. Oregon 99E Business will depart Liberty Street and turn northeast onto Salem Parkway to rejoin Interstate 5 and Oregon 99E. Photo taken 08/27/06.
A Business Oregon 99E reassurance shield is posted after Pine Street. The overhead sign directing traffic onto northbound Salem Parkway (proposed/former Interstate 305) appears in the distance. Photo taken 08/27/06.
The right two lanes of northbound Business Oregon 99E (Liberty Street) transition onto northbound Salem Parkway. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Oregon 99E Business (Liberty Street) northbound at the northbound beginning of the Salem Parkway (planned Interstate 305). Oregon 99E Business turns onto the parkway for the northeasterly drive to Interstate 5 and Oregon 99E (Portland Road). Liberty Street continues north to River Road and River Road Park. Photo taken 08/27/06.
The sign on this traffic signal indicates the designation of Salem Parkway. Business Oregon 99E turns northeast onto this four-lane highway. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Perspective from Oregon 99 Business (Salem Parkway) northbound
After leaving Liberty Street, Oregon 99E Business follows the Salem Parkway, marking the planned beginning of planned Interstate 305 (Salem Parkway). Oregon 99E Business intersects Broadway Street (former Oregon 219) at the traffic light in the background. The cross street was formerly Oregon 219, but that route was relocated years ago and no longer enters Salem. There are two more signalized intersections on the Parkway after Broadway before it merges onto Interstate 5: Cherry Avenue and Verda Lane. Photo taken 08/27/06.
At this traffic signal, Oregon 99E Business (Salem Parkway) meets Broadway Street (former Oregon 219). Photo taken 08/27/06.
The second traffic signal along northbound Oregon 99E Business is at Cherry Avenue. Photo taken 08/27/06.
There is one uncontrolled intersection along Oregon 99E Business (Salem Parkway), and it is here at Mainline Drive (between Cherry Avenue and Verda Lane/Hyacinth Street). Photo taken 08/27/06.
Northbound Salem Parkway (Oregon 99 Business) between Cherry Avenue and Verda Lane/Hyacinth Street is a four-lane parkway. The highway is not divided by a median or concrete barrier; instead, the highway is divided by a pair of double yellow lines. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 5 - Keizer, Oregon
Perspective from Oregon 99 Business (Salem Parkway) northbound
The final Business Oregon 99E shield assembly on northbound Salem Parkway appears after the Verda Lane/Hyacinth Street traffic signal. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Business Oregon 99E north continues by following the Chemawa Road exit. This is the first advance notice of the pending junction with Interstate 5. Photo taken 08/27/06.
One-half mile south of the Interstate 5 northbound on-ramp at Exit 260. a wye interchange joins Salem Parkway (planned Interstate 305) with Interstate 5. Connector ramps join Oregon 99 Business with the Chemawa Road diamond interchange ahead. In the foreground is a railroad overcrossing. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Traffic splits at the wye interchange for the respective ramps to/from Interstate 5. Three overpasses come into view. They are as follows: a ramp from Chemawa Road onto Interstate 5 south, the Interstate 5 southbound mainline, and the Interstate 5 northbound mainline. Oregon 99 Business departs the Salem Parkway ramp onto Interstate 5 northbound for Chemawa Road. The state highway joins Chemawa Road en route to Oregon 99 (Portland Road) one mile to the east. Access to Interstate 5 southbound is achieved by taking the Chemawa Road off-ramp, crossing Interstate 5, and turning south on the Exit 260 on-ramp. Photo taken 08/27/06.
The left two lanes merge onto northbound Interstate 5; the right lane follows Business Oregon 99E onto Chemawa Road. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Traffic from Salem Parkway merges onto northbound Interstate 5. Photo taken 08/27/06.
Perspective from Interstate 5 southbound
Attached to the Quinaby Road overpass is the two-mile overhead for junction Oregon 99E Business (Salem Parkway & Chemawa Road) on Interstate 5 south. Exit 260B serves Oregon 99E Business northbound and Chemawa Road for the city of Keizer. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (11/28/04).
Exit 260B leaves Interstate 5 southbound for Chemawa Road westbound into Keizer. Planned Interstate 305 southbound departs Interstate 5 south in one-quarter mile for the capital city of Salem. Chemawa Road carries Oregon 99E Business west from Oregon 99E (Portland Road) to its junction with Salem Parkway. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (11/28/04).
Interstate 5 southbound at the split with planned Interstate 305 (Salem Parkway). Oregon 99E Business joins the parkway from connector ramps emanating from the Chemawa Road diamond interchange. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (11/28/04).
The Salem Parkway off-ramp (Exit 260A) diverges from Interstate 5 southbound at the Chemawa Road on-ramp. Oregon 99E Business merges with planned Interstate 305 beyond the overpass ahead. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (11/28/04).

Sources:

  1. Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregonís Interstates

Page Updated September 10, 2006.

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