Preparation work is underway for the scheduled July closure of the Cornelius Pass Improvement Project.
During the 11-week project from July to October, the pass will be closed to through traffic between Highway 30 and Germantown Road in Washington County. The closure will send about 13,000 vehicle trips each weekday onto other roads.
Officials are alerting commuters, visitors, businesses, and commercial trucking companies that the impact will be felt region wide, including in Columbia County.
The Chronicle news team continues our special series of reports to help Columbia County commuters, businesses and visitors prepare for the region-wide impact of this transportation improvement project. The following is a conversation with Multnomah County Communications spokesman Mike Pullen, who conducted a series of public informational meetings over the past few weeks concerning the pass closure and its impact.
Chronicle: Give us an overall summary of the comments during the public information sessions?
Pullen: Some major themes of public comments from the June meetings we held in the three counties:
- Concern about no traffic signal at Hwy. 30 and NW Rocky Point Road, where drivers will want to turn left onto the highway.
- Concern about congestion for cars and pickup trucks on the detour route (Newberry Road to Skyline to Old Cornelius Pass Road)
- Concern that the improvements to Cornelius Pass Road do not include more paving (the funds cannot be used for paving except in areas where we realign the curves. We will be repairing potholes with county crews.).
- Interest in law enforcement being present to enforce traffic laws and keep large trucks off the side roads in west hills where they are banned.
Chronicle: Between now and July 1, what will we see happening along the pass to prepare for this closure? We see that warning signs are in place at the pass alerting drivers that up to 15 minute delays will occur beginning next week?
Pullen: The current work that continues next week is mostly by private utilities that are relocating their utilities along the road. Some of this work is related to our project, and some is not. The latter work needs to happen before our project begins, to avoid conflicts. Road users will also see our project signs going up, but that should not delay traffic.
Chronicle: Again, what is the main message to commuters, truck drivers, and businesses about this closure and its region-wide impact?
Pullen: This project will require traffic delays due to the difficult terrain where the work is being done. We believe it is worth the pain this summer because the improvements are designed to reduce the number and severity of crashes in the future. This road has a long history of very serious crashes, including fatalities and crashes that delay large number of drivers, due to the lack of alternate routes.
Chronicle: What is the best phone number and email address folks can use to find out more and to ask any questions they might have.
Pullen: My phone number is 503-209-4111 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the Cornelius Pass Improvement project and its impact in a series of special reports at thechronicleonline.com and in the Wednesday editions of The Chronicle.