Worden Hill gets coat of pavement
It began life as a simple wagon road. But as wagons gave way to motorized vehicles, it was asked to do more and more.
Over the years, Yamhill County has grown more populous and become more of a wine center. Traffic has increased exponentially as a result, and Worden Hill Road has had more than its share.
Formerly gravel, it now features an asphalt surface, thanks to a county investment of $295,000. Crews finished painting the last stripes on the road, which cuts through the wine-rich red hills of Dundee, on Monday.
The county also widened and upgraded its intersection with Highway 240. It features much better sight lines now.
County Road Director John Phelan said the volume of traffic and number of accidents helped justify the paving, as did some steep grades that required regular maintenance at substantial cost. On one particularly sharp grade, he said, the road quickly deteriorated into small mounds and dips, like ski moguls, caused by drivers trying to gain traction for the climb.
Waide’s wife, Karen, said the paving has greatly reduced the noise and dust the road generated in its gravel days. She’s particularly grateful for the latter.
“You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face from the dust,” she said. “I couldn’t keep the windows clean more than a day because of the dust.”
Phelan said he expects traffic to increase on Worden Hill, now that it’s been paved. But with the dust eliminated and the drainage improved, he said, conditions should be better for residents and visitors alike.
The county maintains more than 350 miles of gravel road. Beginning last year, it began to identify sections where paving might be justified and prioritize the projects on the basis of traffic volume, accident rates, accident severity and the number of affected houses and businesses.
Last year, it paved accident-prone Mountain Top Road. This year, it was Worden Hill’s turn.