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Sunrise Expressway project dedicated in Clackamas

On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown helped dedicate the new Sunrise Expressway project that promises to improve safety and ease congestion in urban North Clackamas County.

PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Local leaders join the governor for the ribbon cutting.After three decades of planning and three years of construction, the new four-lane expressway will open to motorists at 5 a.m. Friday, July 1.

PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Gov. Kate Brown speaks at Thursday's dedication of the new Sunrise Expressway.“Projects like the Sunrise Expressway have significant benefits to local communities and unlock key economic development opportunities,” Brown said at the ribbon-cutting where she was among the leaders pressing the Oregon Legislature for another transportation funding package in 2017. “These investments reduce congestion and support a strong business sector to move Oregon forward.”

Also speaking at the event were Former House Speaker Dave Hunt, County Commissioner Paul Savas, North Clackamas Chamber CEO Laura Edmonds, and the representatives from ODOT and Kerr Contractors that completed the project on time and on budget. Mike French, logistics manager for Fred Meyer, promised to pass on the savings to customers by the highway cutting the drive times from the regional distribution center in the area employing 1,000 people.

The new bypass highway is taking truck and other traffic off the local streets and directing it onto the new Sunrise Expressway. Westbound travelers on Oregon Highway 212/224 from Estacada and Damascus will now be able to use the new Sunrise Expressway to get to Interstate 205 or Milwaukie and avoid the clogged Exit 12 interchange. Eastbound travelers on the Milwaukie Expressway (Highway 224) can use the Sunrise Expressway to bypass the busiest local roads around I-205 and join OR 212/224 east of the most congested areas.

About $100 million of the $130 million project came from the Jobs and Transportation Act, adopted with bi-partisan support by the 2009 Legislature to improve the state’s transportation system. The project broke ground in 2013.

The project, under discussion since the mid-1980s, also built a new path for pedestrians and bicycles along the corridor with funding from Metro. The Tolbert Overpass remains under construction to provide another route over the railroad and connect 82nd Drive.