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Cedar Mill News
Volume 3, Issue 8


August 2005

Cornell and Barnes Road Improvements underway!

by Anne Madden, Senior Program Educator, Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation

Washington County is making progress on some major improvements to Cornell and Barnes Roads in Cedar Mill. Several years ago the county identified safety and congestion problems on these roadway sections and requested funding to address them. In 1995 Washington County voters approved this funding when they voted for the Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP 3). At last the projects are in full swing. Most of the work should be completed by this Thanksgiving.

The Cornell and Barnes Road project limits extend from Murray to Saltzman on Cornell Road and from Saltzman to 119th on Barnes Road (see map). The emphasis is on addressing multi-modal transportation needs by widening Cornell Road to three lanes and Barnes Road to five lanes. The roads are designed with additional improvements including sidewalks, bike lanes, and other features consistent with the goals of the Cedar Mill Town Center.

Cornell Road generally will have two travel lanes (one in each direction) and a center turn lane with wider than usual (12-foot) sidewalks, bike lanes and on street parking in many locations. Barnes Road will have four travel lanes (two in each direction) and a center turn lane with wide (10- foot to 14-foot) sidewalks and bike lanes but no on street parking. Both roads will have street trees and pedestrian-friendly “acorn” style lighting. Both will include partial medians in some locations to improve safety for vehicles and pedestrian crossing.

New traffic signals are being added at Barnes and Saltzman and “Old Barnes” and Cornell. A new right turn lane that has been completed – heading south on Saltzman onto Cornell – will also help ease congestion. The county worked with the historic Leedy Grange to give them a facelift in the process.

The construction contract has an estimated final completion date of May 2006. However, good news - the contractor is making every effort to complete Cornell Road by this October and Barnes by this November. Although the landscaping and final details would not be finished until Spring, that would make for a very happy Thanksgiving for Cedar Mill!

Project Advisory Committee on the job

A Project Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of residents, business owners and impacted agencies met several times during the spring and summer of 2002 to discuss and recommend alternatives for the design of these roadway improvements. The PAC used the results of an alternatives evaluation and input from public comments received at open houses and at PAC meetings as they discussed and fine-tuned their recommendations.
For Barnes Road, the PAC selected an alignment that shifts slightly to the north of the existing road. For Cornell Road, the PAC selected an alignment that is widened on both sides of the existing centerline of Cornell Road. On both Barnes and Cornell the number of existing property access points are being reduced by combining existing driveways, where possible, to improve both safety and mobility. A center lane on each roadway will include turn lanes for property access, as well as some landscaped median islands.

Town Center look and feel the goal

Cedar Mill was designated by Metro as a Town Center several years ago at the request of residents and neighborhood groups. In 2000 the Washington County Board of Commissioners made the designation official when they approved corresponding changes to the Cedar Mill Community Plan.

The Town Center is envisioned to be a compact area with retail activity, offices and housing that serve as a hub of community activity.The approved Town Center plan stipulates a number of features for the ultimate improvement of Cornell and Barnes Roads, including bike lanes, on-street parking, sidewalks, street trees and other design features to promote pedestrian and transit activities. Almost all of these features are implemented with this project.

Other attractive new features on Cornell include a special “scoring” pattern on the sidewalks and irrigation to streetlights to accommodate future hanging baskets (not part of this project). The new street trees will be planted in cast iron tree grates with the words “Cedar Mill” appearing in a decorative pattern. Concrete bus shelter and bench pads will be provided at five locations; Tri-Met will install new shelters and benches.
Private contractor and utilities partners in construction.

Robinson Construction of Hillsboro, the successful low bidder with a bid of $7 million, started construction in August 2004. The total project cost, including design and right-of-way acquisition and construction management, is approximately $13 million.

Construction progress has seemed slow because of the amazing amount of underground utility work that has been necessary. Water, telephone, electric and fiber optic services are all being carefully laid underground, to add to the beauty and safety of the Town Center.

Work on the storm sewer installations and underground utility construction is just about complete on Cornell, and is expected to be complete by the end of the summer along Barnes. Traffic has been switched to the south side of Cornell so that road sub-grade construction can begin on the north side.

Wetland swale to feature public overlook

Both projects have been designed to improve the natural environment, especially where they cross streams or tributaries. A large box culvert replaces the existing culvert on Cornell Road, and a fish-friendly bridge over Cedar Mill Creek replaces the former culvert on Barnes. A wetland mitigation area and water quality swale is being constructed on the north side of Cornell Road (directly west of A Cut Above), with a landscaped overlook for pedestrians on the new sidewalk.

Need More Information?

For more information on the project, please contact Alex Sander, Washington County Project Manager, at (503) 846-7817, or via email at alex_sander@co.washington.or.us. Or visit the project web site at projects.ch2m.com/cornellbarnes



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