Crews have begun a $3 million safety and access improvement project along Gable Road west of Highway 30 in St. Helens.
Major construction will continue through Labor Day, including most of the work in front of the high school. Paving will continue into November, with final details addressed up through April 2020.
Sidewalks, bike lanes and new storm and sanitary sewer lines, among other upgrades, will be added to the roadway from Columbia Boulevard to Highway 30. Two flasher units to aid in safety to and from St. Helens High School for the students will also be installed at the west and east ends of the school.
The work will improve pedestrian safety for residents and those using the school and businesses along Gable Road.
The contractors are currently relocating utilities and have completed staging areas along the work zone. Major detours will begin after June 13 – the last day of school for students at St. Helens High School.
Gable Road will remain open to two-way traffic from Columbia Boulevard to St. Helens High School. After June 17, the road will close to two-way traffic beyond the east high school parking lot through to Columbia Blvd. Drivers heading east on Bachelor Flat Road towards Highway 30 will be detoured to Sykes Road while Gable Road is under construction. Westbound traffic will be able to travel on Gable Road.
Columbia County Public Works Department Assistant Director Tristan Wood said delays on Gable Road, which could be up to 20 minutes, are inevitable.
“Unless you live along Gable Road you should avoid the area completely,” Wood said. “It will be best to use the Sykes Road detour going both ways for the quickest way around the project.”
Wood said drivers should expect difficulty getting through quickly because trucks, workers and equipment will be crossing the roadway.
In the last few years, several apartment complexes and single-family homes have been developed along Gable Road. The road is an important connector to services residents use often, such as grocery stores, restaurants and public health facilities.
Columbia County and the City of St. Helens have been working for more than a decade to acquire funds for the improvements. The project is funded in part by a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Enhance It program.
Columbia County has partnered with TFT Construction Inc. of Scappoose for the project.