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Lawnfield Road closure to extend through March

The closure of Lawnfield Road for construction since May 30 has been extended through next March because unusually cold weather prevented paving this fall, county officials said.

A December completion date had been expected on this portion of the project that aims to ease traffic congestion and strengthen the Clackamas County jobs climate with the first new state road in the Portland area in more than 30 years.

Officials broke ground in July on the $118 million Sunrise Jobs and Transportation Act Project, which received $100 million from the 2009 Oregon Legislature to upgrade the state’s transportation system.

Lawnfield Road has been a closely watched portion of the project because a contingent of industrial business owners in the area had sued to prevent the closure of a railroad crossing as a key part of the effort to build a new highway between Highway 224 and 162nd Avenue. Another legislative bill this year and lower-than-expected bids ensured that the Tolbert Overpass would be built as the Sunrise Corridor project became a reality.

The closure, at the east end of Lawnfield Road from 97th Avenue to 98th Court, will continue 24 hours a day. If weather allows, Clackamas County plans to reopen the road in January.

Paving of Lawnfield Road’s two layers of asphalt could occur over two days of dry 40-degree weather, and county officials had hoped to do those steps Dec. 26 and 27. But last week’s cold snap didn’t cooperate, and now they’re looking to other opportunities to lay down those asphalt layers. Once that happens, about three more weeks of decent weather would be needed to install concrete barriers and reopen the road.

“It is harder and harder to get the weather we need as we get further into winter,” said County Project Manager Terry Mungenast. “It looks like our next best opportunity will be Monday. Hopefully we’ll get some warmer temperatures!”

But Lawnfield Road’s intersections with 97th Avenue and 98th Court will remain open throughout construction. And emergency vehicles continue to have 24-hour access to both driveways at the Lawnfield Garden Condominiums via 97th Avenue to the north driveway and via Lawnfield to the south driveway.

If the road can reopen in the next couple of months, county officials then plan to close the road again briefly for one or two days in the spring for final paving and cleanup work. In early spring, temperatures would need to be 50 degrees or above to stripe the road and complete this phase of the project.

The construction project includes roadway reconstruction and widening, bike lanes, sidewalks, stormwater drainage and a detention pond, street lighting and new traffic signals at the Lawnfield Road/97th Avenue intersection.

Clackamas County says it’s coordinating work with the Oregon Department of Transportation on the ODOT project to ensure adequate access to and from the area for the duration of the Lawnfield project. Including the distribution centers for Safeway and Fred Meyer, the project plans to sustain the 5,900 jobs already in the area and create an economic climate for new jobs in the years to come.

Construction on the whole project is expected to be completed by summer 2016. More information is available at sunrisejta.org.



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