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Cedar Mill News
Volume 4, Issue 2


February 2006

Two new major road projects for Cedar Mill

Just when we thought we’d be seeing the last of the backhoes with the completion of the Cornell/Barnes project comes the news that two more major road projects are slated for our area. But they’re sorely needed, and the short-term pain will end in permanent gain.

One project will widen Murray from Highway 26 to Cornell. It will become a five-lane road with improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Further improvements will also be made to the Cornell-Murray intersection. The other project will continue the widening of Saltzman from Cornell north to Burton - three lanes with bike and pedestrian facilities and intersection improvements. Both of these road sections get jammed up and cause delays and frustration, especially during commute times. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2007 for each of the projects.
Washington County’s Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP) began as a serial levy approved by voters in 1986 to pay for much-needed capital improvements to the transportation system. It is a joint effort of Washington County’s Department of Land Use & Transportation and the cities of the area. Elected officials meet regularly as the Washington County Coordinating Committee (WCCC) to discuss local and regional transportation issues and suggest priorities.

The first three MSTIP programs were each approved by voters as short-term levies. In 1997 this changed when voters approved Measure 50. The MSTIP levy became part of the county’s permanent property tax rate, but at a reduced level. By 2006, MSTIP will have built 64 transportation projects including bridges, road improvements and new roads. The Barnes/Cornell project was built with MSTIP 3 funds.

MSTIP 3 was the first group of projects under the new levy system, and MSTIP 3b, approved in January 2004, included funding for the planning and right-of-way acquisition of these two important projects in Cedar Mill. Because the preliminary steps will come out of 3b funds, these will be among the first projects to go into the construction phase under the latest round of MSTIP funding – MSTIP Extended (3c) – which includes the 19 of 21 proposed projects that were approved at a late December board meeting.

Dan Brown, Manager of Capital Projects for Washington County, says, “we had a total of about $2.6 billion dollars of road improvements suggested to us by county and city representatives. We knew we couldn’t approve all of them because of the cash flow situation – the Board of Commissioners is determined not to add any new debt. So we will only do projects for which we have tax money, and that comes to about $23 million a year.”

Brown is is putting together the MSTIP 3c work plan now. The design of both Cedar Mill projects will be completed by the end of 2006. Right-of-way acquisition will occur during 2006. Construction could start as early as July of 2007, the beginning of the county’s fiscal year when 3c tax money will become available. “These projects are far enough apart that we may be doing construction on both of them at the same time,” he says. “The traffic control plans during construction will be coordinated to minimize delays.”

Alex Sander, Project Manager for Washington County Land Use and Transportation, says of the Murray project, “This project will widen NW Murray Boulevard between NW Cornell Road and Highway 26 to 5 lanes (2 travel lanes in each direction, and a center turn lane), with bike lanes and sidewalks. The project is expected to result in significant reconstruction of the Murray/Cornell intersection. Preliminary engineering has not started, but will begin soon. Two initial steps that will occur in the next 6 months or so are field surveying, and conducting a traffic analysis. The field survey locates existing right-of-way and physical conditions, and provides a basis for developing preliminary designs. The traffic analysis will tell us what the intersection configuration needs to be (number and length of turn lanes), to provide adequate intersection capacity for up to 20 years into the future. Thus, initial designs are a number of months off.”

More information on MSTIP with links to MSTIP 3c projects is available on the county’s website at www.co.washington.or.us/deptmts/lut/cap_proj/mstiphis.htm



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The Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by the Cedar Mill Business Association, Inc.,
P.O. Box 91177
Portland, OR 97291-0177

Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229