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Section of Oleson Road closes for bridge installation work

$7.3 million project will raise span so it no longer floods during downpours


by: WASHINGTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Motorists who use Oleson Road where the bridge crosses Fanno Creek just south of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway will have to find an alternative route beginning Monday, July 28. The roadway will be closed until March 28, 2015, so a new and expanded bridge can be installed to accommodate periodic flooding that can overwhelm the existing bridge as in this photo.Motorists who normally use Oleson Road where the bridge crosses Fanno Creek just south of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway will have to find an alternative route beginning Monday, July 28.

That’s because the roadway from Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway to Hall Boulevard will be closed until March 28, 2015, so a new and expanded bridge can be installed.

Until that time, a detour will funnel motorists down Scholls Ferry Road to Hall Boulevard, according to Stephen Roberts, communications director for Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation.

“Right now, it’s a really narrow two-lane bridge,” Roberts said about the bridge that will be rebuilt to accommodate three lanes along with bike paths and sidewalks on both sides of Oleson Road.

The $7.3 million replacement project is necessary for several reasons, among them a need to raise the 55-year-old bridge above flood levels, according to engineers. Fanno Creek overruns its banks and floods the road during heavy downpours, which occur every several years, said Roberts.

The new structure will be built to standards that will mesh with the eventual Oleson Road realignment project, and it will complete a 400-foot roadway gap between the bridge and the previous Oleson Road improvement project, which ended near Dover Street. However, a construction funding source will have to be found before the realignment moves past the design stage.

“We’ve applied for federal grants,” said Roberts. “The bridge project we do now would complement that future (realignment) project.”

Oleson Road near the bridge sees about 11,600 vehicles pass over it daily. The realignment would ultimately benefit traffic flow at what many call “Six Corners,” the juncture where Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Scholls Ferry Road and Oleson Road meet at two traffic signals that are within 300 feet of one another.

During a recent tour at the bridge replacement site, Patrick B. Oakes, a project manager with the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation, said the plan is to raise the surface of the bridge, originally installed around 1959, by seven feet at its highest point. Oakes said the county plans to use low-density cellular concrete for the fill needed to elevate the road, a material that is lighter than normal concrete so it won’t settle like normal fill dirt can. This is one of the first times the county has used the lighter-weight fill, Oakes said.

While the bridge span is 50 feet, the new bridge is double that length.

Roadway improvements near the bridge will be similar to those made to Oleson Road in 2004, and will include eight-foot-wide sidewalks, said Oakes.

Funding for the bridge project comes from federal highway bridge program, county road capital bridge program funds and funds from Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program funds.

In 1996, the county came up with a preferred alternative to realign Oleson Road and plans are to eventually align it so it will hook up more evenly to the extension of Scholls Ferry Road. During bridge construction, a temporary pedestrian and bike bridge will be available on the west side of the current bridge only, said Oakes.

Although the road detour will ideally take motorists from Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway to Hall Boulevard, local residents and those who live in apartment complexes on either side of the closed bridge will be allowed access, said Oakes.

Meanwhile, a “meet the contractor” event for the Oleson Road bridge closure is set for Tuesday at Raleigh Hills K-8 School, 5225 S.W. Scholls Ferry Road. The public is invited to stop by between 5 and 7 p.m. to meet with the contractor, Carter & Company Inc., a Salem bridge construction company.

Also underway in Washington County are improvements along Farmington Road from Murray Road to Hocken Avenue.

“We’re going to be widening (Farmington) to five lanes with bike lanes and sidewalks as well,” said Kim Haughn, a public information officer for the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation.




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