Interstate 305 Oregon
Interstate 305 was a proposed 3.3 mile long freeway spur leading southwest from I-5 into the capital city of Oregon. Salem Parkway, a controlled access, at-grade roadway, was constructed in place of I-305. The parkway follows a portion of the planned alignment for I-305 between Interstate 5 (Exit 258) southwest to the couplet of Commercial and Liberty Streets north of the Salem city center. Oregon Route 99E Business formerly followed Salem Parkway north to I-5 at Chemawa Road (Exit 260).
The Oregon Department of Transportation submitted I-305 for inclusion in the Interstate Highway System to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) in November 19681 Interstate 305 appeared on maps between 1970 and 1975 parallel to Oregon 99E (U.S. 99E/Pacific Highway) from I-5 southwest into Salem. Early proposals placed the freeway closer to Pacific Highway between Highland Avenue and I-5. Later renditions pushed Interstate 305 further north between the one way couplet of Commercial and Liberty Streets at Tryon Avenue northeast roughly along the Salem and Keizer city line to Interstate 5.
The official publication Interstate 50th Anniversary: The Story of Oregon’s Interstates only references one route for Interstate 305, along with one proposed extension. I-305 was outlined as beginning at Keizer on Interstate 5, following Chemawa Road and continuing southwest into Downtown Salem. The I-305 freeway project was modified with a proposed 2.34 mile extension. This additional mileage included a new bridge across the Willamette River and an interchange connecting Interstate 305 with Oregon 22 (Willamina-Salem Highway #30).1
The ultimate cancellation of Interstate 305 originated with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) deferring approval of Interstate 305 because of issues with the 2.34 mile long southern extension. This delay pushed back the project into the early 1970s, which subjected it to more stringent environmental review (Environmental Impact Statement). Community groups gave mixed reviews on the highway, with some protesting it while others supported it.
Local governments, including the city of Salem and Marion County, capitalized on the halted project. Seeing the opportunity to shift money allocated for I-305 to other needs, officials voted to transfer funds to other local transportation projects. These resolutions passed in December 1976 and by September 1977, Interstate 305 was formally removed from the Oregon Interstate Highway System.1