West Eugene EmX construction to start this year

      EUGENE, Ore. - EmX buses carry people commuters from downtown Eugene Station to Springfield cCenter and from there north to Gateway.

      The sngle line transports 1 in 4 Lane Transit District riders.

      By 2017, another section will be added.

      "The third EmX segment was actually chosen in combination with LTD and Eugene City Council," said Lisa Van Winkle with LTD. "They wanted to look at ways to ease congestion out to West 11th and the West Eugene area."

      Buses will travel down West 11th with stops planned on both Sixth and Seventh avenues.

      The $93 million project is part of a long-term vision.

      "We want to extend EmX service on major corridors around town that would make it the most convenient for the most number of people," Van Winkle.

      LTD said the project will not contribute to congestion on roads, noting portions of roadways along the route will be widened.

      Critics disagree.

      "They're going to increase congestion because they're going to force all the traffic into three lanes and they're just going to reseve the one lane for six buses an hour," said Bob Macherione, a business owner who has long opposed the West Eugene EmX expansion.

      Others are concerned about the short-term impact of construction but are reserving judgement.

      "It's hard to tell about what's going to happen until we'll see it," said business owner Samuel Recinos. "It might bring more traffic after. It might be good for business."

      Officials estimate road and sidewalk work will begin in late summer or early fall.