The Oregon Department of Transportation kicked of an online open house today for the OR 217 Auxiliary Lanes Project. With so much attention on their other urban freeway widening project in Portland, we haven’t paid as much attention to this one even though it’s happening just on the other side of the hill in Washington County.
Similar to their rationale for the I-5 Rose Quarter project, ODOT says more lanes are needed because closely-spaced ramps are causing congestion and crashes. ODOT plans to add a new southbound lane from Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway to OR-99W (about four miles). In the northbound direction they want to add two new lanes between 99W and Scholls Ferry Road. The project would also add a new road on the west side of Hwy 217 between SW Allen Blvd and SW Denney Road (and remove the ramps that serve those streets), replace a Hall Blvd overpass at Pfaffle St/99W, build new sound walls, and widen two existing ramps.
The project will make it much easier and more convenient to drive a single-occupancy car through a destination-rich part of Tigard and Beaverton while investing nothing in mass transit and a mere pittance for bicycling.
Here’s the pitch from ODOT:
OR 217 between Beaverton and Tigard has 10 interchanges in just over seven miles and some of the shortest merging spacing in the region. The interchange spacing, combined with 120,000 vehicles a day, leads to high crash rates and travel delays. The interchanges at Allen Boulevard and Denney Road are some of the worst bottleneck locations. This project will help minimize bottlenecks and help everyone on OR 217 get where they need to go.
On the non-driving side of things, ODOT plans to work with the cities of Beaverton and Tigard to build an extension of the Fanno Creek Trail along the east side of 217 up to Allen Blvd, widen a sidewalk on the north side of Denney Rd from Fanno Creek Trail to SW 105th and build sidewalks and bike lanes on a Hall Blvd overpass from Cascade Ave to Scholls Ferry Rd.
Here are the before/afters of these “bike and pedestrian improvements”:
The project is estimated to cost $134 million. It was one of several freeway expansion projects earmarked in the “Keep Oregon Moving” bill that passed the Oregon Legislature in 2017. ODOT expects to complete design by spring of 2021, begin construction in 2022 and cut the ribbon in 2025.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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