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Cedar Mills Saltzman Road project nears final design stage

Final design plans for improvements on Saltzman Road north of Cornell Road are being finalized as Washington County gears up to widen the arterial to three lanes.

Today, a focus group will review preliminary design plans for the $11.5 million project.

'We think we have the alignment pretty well lined out,' said Matthew Costigan, a Washington County engineering project manager, adding that so far no 'fatal flaws' in the plans have yet been detected.

Final design plans will be presented this fall.

Costigan said only one home in the first phase of the project - located on the southwest corner of Lovejoy Street - would be impacted. The county already has acquired that piece of property. Most of the other right-of-way property is for slope and utility easements, said Costigan.

Plans are to make the improvements on the 2-mile stretch of roadway in two phases. The first will be from Cornell Road north to Bauer Woods Drive; the second phase will go from Bauer Woods Drive to Thompson Road.

The Saltzman Road expansion project will create one travel lane in each direction along with a continuous turn lane.

An average of 13,500 vehicles travel daily along Saltzman Road between Cornell and Thompson roads, with that amount decreasing as motorists travel north.

Funding for the project will come from the county's general fund as part of the Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program. However, the second phase of the roadwork has yet to be funded.

Construction of the first phase should begin in spring 2009 with a completion date set for fall 2010. Since funding is still up in the air for Phase 2, no start or finish date has been set, said Costigan.

As part of the expansion, a full traffic signal will be placed at 128th Terrace. However, an existing yellow flasher at Burton Street would remain.

'We're not anticipating that that would change,' said Costigan. 'It doesn't meet the criteria for a signal.'

In addition to the roadway expansion, the project calls for 6-foot-wide bike lanes on each side of Saltzman, along with 5-foot-wide sidewalks.

Also expected are the construction of one of two types of retaining walls. County engineers will decide whether to use a 2- to 4-foot-tall, cinder-block retaining wall or a taller 6- to 8-foot 'ultra block' model.

Costigan said retaining walls will be necessary in at least two locations including the shopping complex on the east side of Saltzman, just north of Cornell, and near the entrance of St. Pius X Catholic Church.