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Cedar Mill News
Volume 2, Issue 7


July 2004

Sunset Widening Begins near Cedar Mill

Mowat Construction of Woodinville, Washington, the contractor for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has started work on the new U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) construction project. Crews will widen U.S. 26 to three lanes in each direction between the Highway 217 interchange and Cornell Road. The $37 million project is scheduled for completion in fall 2006.

The original project was to widen U.S. 26 between the Highway 217 interchange and Murray Boulevard. The project was extended another 1.25 miles west to Cornell Road. This extension was made possible by an additional $7 million in funding the project received from the Oregon Transportation Investment Act and Washington County.

This should significantly improve the legendary congestion that occurs on our stretch of highway. Steve Harry, ODOT Community Affairs Manager for Region 1, says, “Our 2002 traffic count shows 94,200 vehicles just WEST of Cornell and 110,000 vehicles just EAST of Cornell. There may be a slight increase since then, but our traffic people feel the numbers are a good representation of the situation.”

In addition to widening and paving the highway, construction will also: eliminate the merging conflicts with U.S. 26 and Highway 217 traffic; reconnect the Barnes Road on-ramp to U.S. 26 westbound; install sound and retaining walls; upgrade illumination; and install new lane striping.

The contractor has closed the westbound U.S. 26 onramp from northbound Cedar Hills Boulevard. The ramp closure, which is expected to remain in place until November 2005, is required to allow crews to perform extensive work to widen the Cedar Hills Boulevard structure and the accompanying highway widening. To help prevent people from making u-turns at Barnes to get onto westbound Sunset, ODOT is working with the county to install ”No U-Turn” signs at the intersection and has asked for enhanced enforcement to quell the bad habits of some drivers.

On the highway itself, the contractor is restricted from lane closures during the day. There will be a lot of night work, with the possibility of some weekend work and short-term ramp closures at night and possibly on some weekends.

In response to concerns about additional traffic on westbound Barnes at Cedar Hills Boulevard resulting from the elimination of the offramp leading from 217 northbound to Cedar Hills, Harry says, “It is anticipated that a significant amount of traffic that now travels west on Barnes Road [to get onto the Sunset] from the area near and east of Providence St. Vincent Hospital will use the new on ramp [at the Barnes/217 interchange], instead of Cedar Hills. That should provide some relief to Barnes Road westbound traffic.”

Washington County currently has no plans to add lanes to that portion of Barnes. It may be improved when Peterkort develops the land on the north side of Barnes.

Currently there are no signs on Highway 26 referring to Cedar Mill! Harry says, “Two new Cedar Mill signs are included in the project. One is on the westbound Cedar Hills Boulevard off ramp, the other is on Cedar Hills Boulevard northbound prior to the US 26 on ramp.”

The highway crosses both Cedar Mill and Willow Creeks. ODOT's environmentalist says, “Riparian enhancement is planned for the north side of Cedar Mill Creek and a short section of Willow Creek will be relocated further from the highway and enhanced. At Cedar Mill Creek, an existing oxbow feature will be connected to the channel and over 150 native trees and a variety of native shrubs will be planted. In addition, all new and existing impervious surface associated with the proposed project will be treated for pollutants and detained before discharging into waterways, whereas there is currently no treatment of stormwater runoff from the existing impervious surface in this area. There will be minimal impacts to the riparian area near Johnson Creek and therefore no enhancements are planned. Presently, Cedar Mill Creek may have resident cutthroat trout and Willow Creek supports warm-water- tolerant species.” This is good news to locals who would like to enhance riparian habitats in Cedar Mill.

See www.odot.state.or.us/region1/f_murray/index.htm for more details.




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The Cedar Mill News
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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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