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North Shore, State intersection is undergoing a makeover

by: VERN UYETAKE Duane Bates of Brown Contracting prepares to install a retaining wall on the west side of State Street at North Shore Road, with Jason Bates, also of Brown Contracting, doing the same in the background. Construction crews are working to improve safety and aesthetics at the intersection.

A construction project under way at North Shore Road and State Street aims to improve safety as well as the overall appearance of the intersection, a gateway into the Lakewood neighborhood.

Brown Contracting, hired by the city's urban renewal agency for $111,450, is working on improvements to the west side of the intersection.

'What's really being done is to tighten up the approach so you don't have as high of a speed of traffic southbound on State turning onto North Shore,' said Brant Williams, the city's director of economic and capital development. His department includes the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency.

The project will improve crosswalks on both corners of the west side of the intersection and will shorten the distance pedestrians must travel to cross the western approach. In addition, new landscaping and fencing and a new neighborhood sign will enhance the overall look at the crossroads. New sidewalk ramps will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

While pedestrians on the south side of North Shore until now have had to walk through a grassy area to reach the sidewalk on State Street, a new sidewalk is being built to give them a safer path.

'The first objective was safety for people walking on the street,' said Scott Darling, chairman of the Lakewood Neighborhood Association. 'There's a lot of traffic on North Shore, and it's also a prime pedestrian area.'

Darling said drivers commonly coast through red lights during the morning and evening commutes, and 'there is a lot of traffic coming off State Street there that whips through the neighborhood at too high of speeds.'

The aesthetic improvements are also appreciated, he said. 'But I don't think anybody would have pushed as hard and as consistently as we have if safety hadn't been a primary concern.

'It has been an ongoing neighborhood concern and it's getting addressed finally.'

In the meantime, drivers should be aware of lane closures at the intersection. A southbound lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays with delays of 10 minutes anticipated for drivers until construction work is completed.

Pedestrians walking south should cross State Street at Foothills Road, and those walking north should cross at Middlecrest.

The project is expected to be finished mid- to late November.