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Tualatin foots entire bill for railroad crossing project

Closure of Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road at Boones Ferry Road begins Friday at 8 p.m. and ends Monday at 5 a.m.
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TUALATIN - The city of Tualatin will likely pay about $750,000, and motorists will have to factor in extra time for taking the long way around. But Portland and Western Railroad won't have to pay anything for an improvement project that targets the tracks while the city foots the bill.

And that's pretty common, said the civil engineer for the city, Kaaren Hofmann.

Beginning Friday night at 8 p.m. and ending 5 a.m. Monday, crews will close Tualatin-Sherwood Road at the corner of Boones Ferry Road.

The weekend closure will allow contractors to replace the railroad-crossing surface. The project is part of the city's Downtown Enhancement Plan to improve the transportation infrastructure.

The improvements at the tracks will ultimately lead to a smoother ride for motorists. But track improvements also will benefit the trains that use it. In fact, the railroad company is responsible for choosing the contractors to do the track work, and the city pays the bill.

'The city will pay for all of it,' Hofmann said adding that improvement projects around railroad tracks are often footed by the municipalities that undertake the projects. She also noted that the project would impact the intersection in other ways.

The city is doing some widening work just to the north of the intersection, and the rails will be used, in part, in the future for the proposed commuter rail, Hofmann said.

During the closure, westbound traffic will be looped around by taking Boones Ferry Road to Tualatin Road and then onto 90th Avenue. Eastbound traffic will take 95th Avenue to Avery Street, which leads to Boones Ferry Road.

Business in the area is expected to operate as normal, but Dave Carney, owner of Tualatin Autobody, said he's still not looking forward to the closure.

'Last time they closed the road, we had to meet customers at the Fred Meyer parking lot because people don't know how to navigate the back streets to get here,' he said.

Carney doesn't expect to lose too much business since the closure will be over the course of a weekend. Hofmann noted that detour signs and flaggers would be on hand during the project to direct motorists.