Oregon Route 99E Business
|Business route of OR 99E|
|Maintained by Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Salem (Chemawa Road portion)|
|Length:||9.77 mi (15.72 km)|
|South end:||I‑5 / OR 22 / OR 99E in Salem|
|OR 22 in Salem|
|North end:||OR 99E in Salem|
Oregon Route 99E Business (OR 99E Business) is a business route through Salem, Oregon for Oregon Route 99E, which bypasses downtown via Interstate 5 (I-5). A portion of this highway was originally planned to be a freeway, signed as Interstate 305; however the proposed freeway was cancelled after community opposition.
The northern end of OR 99E business is at an intersection with OR 99E north of the Salem area. It runs east for approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) along Salem-maintained Chemawa Road to an interchange with I-5 and Salem Parkway (officially Salem Highway #72) near Keizer. The highway then runs southwest along the parkway for approximately 3 miles (4.8 km), then turns south along the Commercial Street/Liberty Street couplet for another 2 miles (3.2 km). In downtown Salem, the highway skirts downtown along Front Street, where it interchanges with and shares an alignment with Oregon Route 22. OR 22/OR 99E then leave downtown via Pringle Parkway, skirting the southern edge of the Willamette University campus, then, via a pair of ramps, interchange with Mission Street. The highways then head southeast for 2.4 miles (3.9 km) until an interchange with I-5 and OR 99E. This interchange marks the end of OR 99E Business; OR 22 continues to the east along North Santiam Highway.
The route which is now Salem Parkway was originally planned to be a freeway (Salem Freeway #65), which was to be signed as Interstate 305. After originally being conceived only as a four-mile (6 km) spur of I-5 into downtown Salem, the I-305 project was modified and expanded by about 2.34 miles (3.77 km) to include a new bridge across the Willamette River to meet OR 22, providing increased access to Polk County. While local opposition cancelled the freeway, Salem Parkway was later built as an undivided expressway.
The original alignment of OR 99E through Salem came from the south off I-5 onto Commercial Street and left to the north on Portland Road to cross I-5. In May 1986, due to Salem Parkway opening north of downtown, OR 99E was rerouted onto I-5 around Salem, and its old route south of downtown, along with the Salem Parkway and Chemawa Road north of downtown, became OR 99E Business. In March 1992, OR 99E Business was moved onto OR 22 southeast from downtown.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the City of Salem are considering building an additional bridge across the Willamette River, north of the current Marion and Center Street bridges (which carry OR 22 across the river, and are the only river crossings for motor vehicles in the city). The exact location and alignment of this proposed new bridge and its connecting routes is presently under study, but generally, the routes being considered would connect to OR 99E Business at or near the southern end of Salem Parkway on the river's eastern shore, and provide access to both OR 22 and OR 221 on the western side. Such a route would be similar to that proposed for I-305.