Pass improvement project underway

As the improvement work intensifies along Cornelius Pass Road, Multnomah County Communications Officer Mike Pullen will issue updates to keep commuters and residents updated on the project.

The following is Pullen’s latest Pass Update

Work This Week

• Earth grading continues at NW Kaiser Road where sight distance improvements will be made.

• Clearing and grubbing vegetation at the main work sites continues.

• Preparation work for blasting at the S-curves.

Recent Work

In addition to installing traffic control for the road closure and detour, the contractor mobilized for the road repairs, bringing in supplies and equipment.

• At NW 8th Ave. between Skyline and Hwy. 30, the contractor removed asphalt where a curve will be realigned.

• At the S-curves just north of Skyline Blvd., the contractor cleared vegetation and began building a drilling platform for the area that will be blasted with explosives. The S-curves will be realigned.

• At NW Kaiser Road, the contractor removed contaminated soils and cleared vegetation.

Traffic

Since NW Cornelius Pass Road closed to through traffic on July 22, we’ve seen and responded to a number of traffic issues. Here are highlights from the first week of the road closure:

Stop Sign Changes

On July 22 stop signs were covered at several locations along the detour route to improve traffic flow on the detour. Since then we have made several changes:

All Locations

The contractor installed back covers on the covered stop signs, to make it clearer to drivers approaching from other directions that the stop signs are covered.

NW Old Cornelius Pass Road and NW Skyline Blvd.

• Re-installed stop sign facing northbound traffic on Old Cornelius Pass Road, so northbound traffic continuing straight onto Skyline Blvd. (toward Columbia County) needs to stop. Traffic turning right onto Skyline (toward Portland) does not need to stop.

• Project will install a stop sign on a low barricade next to the pole mounted stop sign, since drivers’ visibility can be impacted by sun glare in morning.

• Remove vegetation to make stop signs more visible, add “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs, and “Stop Ahead” electronic sign.

• Contractor will re-position construction trailer to improve sightlines for southbound drivers approaching intersection.

NW Newberry Road and NW Skyline Blvd.

Added “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs.

Illegal Truck Trips

Thanks to drivers who reported large trucks using the car detour. A truck making a delivery to a West Hills address can use the detour legally, but we have seen reports of trucks that appear to be making illegal through-trips on the car detour. If you see a large truck you believe is making an illegal through-trip, you can:

• Report it to the non-emergency number for Multnomah County’s Sheriff Office (503-823-3333, Dial 5). Provide the location, date/time, license plate (if known) and vehicle description.

If the incident is on a Multnomah County road, you can also email me (mike.j.pullen@multco.us). I’ll share it with Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, to follow-up with the vehicle owner.

Traffic Safety

Typically, traffic flow improves during construction as drivers get used to a new traffic pattern. A few tips to keep everyone safe this summer:

• The detour route was designed to improve traffic flow for drivers using West Hills side roads. Drivers still need to look out for drivers entering and exiting driveways.

• Be cautious passing through intersections where traffic control has changed.

• Avoid narrow side roads like NW Logie Trail if possible, where it is difficult for two vehicles to pass.

• Allow extra time for your trip.

The closure of Cornelius Pass Road will allow contractor Wildish Standard Paving to construct safety improvements on Multnomah County’s five-mile section of the road. The road is scheduled to reopen in late September.

This steep, winding and narrow section of NW Cornelius Pass Road has a long history of crashes. The project will reduce some of the rural road’s sharp curves, increase sight distance for drivers, improve road shoulders, and install caution signs, guardrails and barriers.

For more information, visit www.multco.us/cornpass. Read a series of special reports about the Cornelius Pass Improvement Project here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.

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