|Volume 6, Issue 11||
Murray Road Project update
Now that the first phase of construction is underway on the Murray Road Improvement Project, we thought it would be a good time to review what improvements are planned and offer information about the work schedules and what travelers in the area can expect throughout the next months of construction.
Washington County decided to combine the Murray/Cornell intersection and Murray widening project with a project to improve the intersections of Science Park Drive and 143rd with Cornell (see July ’08 issue), so that they could work with a single contractor and project manager. The winning bid for the job was submitted by Northwest Earthmovers, Inc. and work is progressing on the western segment of the project, which is due to be completed later this year.
The Murray project will widen NW Murray Blvd. from the Highway 26 overpass to Cornell Road. There will be five lanes (two through-travel lanes in each direction and a northbound left-turn lane) between 26 and Science Park Drive. Five to seven lanes will open up north of there to Cornell: two through-travel lanes in each direction, a southbound left-turn lane providing access into the businesses on the east side of Murray, two northbound left turn lanes and a northbound right-turn lane onto Cornell.
Access from Cornell to the (now nearly vacated) lots along the east side of Murray will be limited to a right-in/right-out driveway near the present southernmost driveway. When all the roadwork is complete, the county will sell the property it has acquired at an auction, and the future developer will likely put the main access into the new development on Joy, the street that runs parallel to Murray to the east.
Access to businesses on the west side of Murray will also be changed. The existing driveway next to Key Bank will be closed. Because a median will stretch between Cornell and the Key Bank entrance, the two remaining driveways will be right-in/right-out only. Northbound travelers who want to drive to these businesses will need to turn left onto Science Park Road and enter via the existing driveway. Drivers will use the existing driveway that runs along the west side of the businesses to access them.
On Murray north of Cornell, the first driveway into the lube shop will be closed. Access into that business and the Miller Paint store will be combined.
An eastbound right-turn lane will be added to Cornell onto Murray southbound. The eastbound right-turn lane from Murray to Cornell will extend about half a block before merging into the current single eastbound lane.
Cedar Mill Place, on the south side of Cornell west of Murray, will get an expanded entrance at the current location.
Access to the Sunset Mall (Safeway) parking lot will be largely unchanged, although the eastern driveway will be modified to be right-out only, and the central driveway will be expanded.
Bike lanes will be added on both sides of the west segment of Cornell near the intersection, and to Murray between Cornell and Science Park on both sides. Tri-Met will construct a bus shelter at the northwest corner of Murray and Science Park in front of Key Bank.
Sidewalks will be installed throughout the project. Streetlights have been selected to comply with the county’s new dark-sky-friendly lighting regulations that will also have a similar appearance to the style of lights that were put in during the first Cornell project, but without the upward glare.
County Project Manager Al Girard, who took over from Alex Sander who retired in June, says that right-of-way acquisition for the Murray project is complete. Humdinger was the first building to be razed for the project. The Sunset Shopping Center at the corner of Murray and Cornell will be demolished later, because the property owner needs to complete work to remove asbestos from the building as well as to contain and remediate any ground contamination from the dry cleaning business that was part of the center.
The contractor has already begun work on a water-quality swale and some sewer improvements nearby. As part of the project, utilities will be put in underground vaults between Science Park and Cornell along Murray. This will be the first “in-road” construction to take place, slated to begin shortly and continue through the winter until around February. As with any major road project, weather and unforeseen problems can affect the schedules.
Work on the water system will follow, with actual road construction set to begin in March 2009 and continue through July. Signals will be installed starting in May, and the current project completion date is August 2009.
All of the businesses affected by the construction have been notified, and they are getting regular updates with project contact information. At some point, a Project Trailer will be set up as a headquarters for project and contractor staff. The location hasn’t yet been selected, but it will likely be on the east side of Murray once the demolition is completed.
Currently, some of the staging for the project is being done at the southwest corner of Cornell and Murray. This property, that has sat vacant for so long, is expected to be leased for development shortly after the roadwork is done, says owner Richard Meyers. He’s still looking for a tenant, saying that he hopes he’ll find a deli or some other food-type business to lease the land and build. Town Center plans call for two-story mixed-use development at all intersections.
Proejct Manager Girard says, “We will be starting the Murray work next week (November 12-17). We will be restricting Murray to one lane in each direction from Highway 26 to Science Park and to three lanes from Science Park to Cornell. The new storm drain will go up the curb line and be 14 feet deep. We will be needing space for the backhoe and the dump trucks to work, so the flow of traffic will be restricted along Murray between the hours of 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Every effort will be made to keep the traffic moving using flaggers where possible. People can expect delays in this section of this roadway for several weeks while the storm line is being installed. Drivers can use Science Park as an alternate as the signal at Cornell/Science Park should be up and operational by Nov 26th.”
Hang on folks, the results will be good but we’re in for a little more traffic pain while the eggs get scrambled.
For more information about the project and to be put on the mailing list, contact Al Girard at 503-846-7851, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The project website, which is updated weekly, is complicated, so we created a “tinyurl” link of tinyurl.com/murraywiden
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