Multnomah County Transportation plans to reopen NW Cornelius Pass Road to traffic on Oct. 18, but construction of safety improvements on the road will continue in 2020.
The pass closed in late July from Highway 30 to Germantown Road in Washington County, detouring an estimated 13,000 vehicle trips each weekday. The improvement project was expected to be completed in September.
“Unfortunately, the construction team experienced a number of schedule impacts that prevented project completion within the permitted season for paving and in-water work,” according to Multnomah County Transportation officials.
Schedule impacts have included:
- Getting parts for a temporary traffic signal at Highway 30 and NW Newberry Road on the primary detour route, which postponed the start of field work;
- Redesign of a culvert under the road near NW 8th Ave. after the contractor elected to build it offsite rather than in the field; and
- The contractor changing the method to remove a steep rock face in the “S” curves. Machinery was eventually selected instead of explosives.
The county has developed a plan to complete work that is needed to reopen the road by October 18. ODOT plans to close the ramp from Highway 30 to I-405 south in northwest Portland for 11 days of repairs around that time. Trucks that have been detoured from Cornelius Pass Road onto Highway 30 and I-405 would face a longer detour during the ODOT work.
The arrival of rain and colder weather also prevents much of the remaining Cornelius Pass Road work from being completed.
The following work has been completed by general contractor Wildish Standard Paving since the road closed on July 22:
- Constructed four vehicle pullouts for vehicles that break down and for law enforcement;
- Kaiser Road Intersection: Sight distance improvements, shoulder widening; and
- Curves south of Plainview Road: Sight distance improvements
The contractor plans to accomplish this work before reopening the road by October 18:
- Complete water quality swale to treat stormwater at NW Kaiser Road;
- Install permanent traffic safety signs;
- Install guardrail;
- Install protective rock netting at “S” curves north of Skyline Blvd.; and
- Realign and pave curve at NW 8th Ave.
The following work will need to be completed in 2020:
- Replace culvert at NW 8th Ave. (the project’s only in-water work);
- Repave road at NW 8th Ave. culvert and install guardrail;
- Realign and pave road at “S” curves; and
- Install remaining traffic signs.
Multnomah County is hiring a construction consultant who will be tasked with reviewing this year’s construction issues and problem-solving so that the remaining work can be completed in a timely manner in 2020. County staff will also work to determine the 2020 construction schedule and whether or not the road needs to be closed in 2020 during construction. The section of Cornelius Pass Road south of Skyline Blvd. will not need to be closed to cars in 2020.
“We are profoundly disappointed that we were not able to complete construction during this year’s road closure,” Multnomah County Transportation Division Director Ian Cannon said. “We know that this road closure has been very disruptive to thousands of commuters, residents and businesses. We thank everyone for their patience during construction. When completed, this project will make Cornelius Pass Road safer for all road users. We are committed to improving safety on the road and completing this project in 2020.”
The estimated cost off the Cornelius Pass Improvement Project is $5.65 million. The work is designed to improve travel along the steep, winding and narrow sections of the route that links Portland to outlining areas east of the city, including Columbia County.
Multnomah County maintains NW Cornelius Pass Road between Highway 30 and the Washington County line.
Read a series off special reports about the Cornelius Pass Improvement Project and its regional impact at the chronicleonline.com. For more information and to sign up for project updates, visit www.multco.us/cornpass.