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MAX work creates mess at SE 17th and Holgate Blvd

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Sewer work at S.E. 18th at Holgate and S.E 17th at Pardee led to further traffic constraints along Holgate in October. Commuters on S.E. Holgate Boulevard are a determined lot. In spite of regular lane changes and tie-ups near S.E. 17th due to Light Rail related work – particularly a persistent sewer project right in the intersection – traffic continues, on this main access to McLoughlin Boulevard.

According to TriMet/PMLR Community Affairs Rep. Jennifer Koozer, in October, “Fans and generators operated 24 hours a day to harden a new sewer line there. Additional sewer work was done at S.E. 17th and Pardee, and also at S.E. 17th and Rhine Streets.

“The blue Holgate Plaza shopping center was demolished for street widening, and the remainder of that site will be used for construction staging. For the long term, the site is being considered for potential transit-oriented development.”

Holgate Plaza was the former location of the Semaphore Restaurant and other businesses. The small Q-stop Deli Market closed on Sept. 15, and adjacent TriMet offices were emptied. Konell Construction & Demolition quickly razed and cleared the site with heavy equipment. In a further challenge to motorists in the latter part of October, traffic signals were turned off at S.E. 17 at Holgate during work hours, and flaggers directed traffic.

Koozer also told THE BEE, “The former TriMet facilities maintenance building at S.E. 17th and Boise Street is being demolished for street widening, and the rest of the site will remain employee parking. Work is underway to prepare the former Advantis Credit Union site and the PGE space just south of it for additional TriMet employee parking, and possible transit-oriented development.”

Traffic at S.E. 17th and Lafayette Street was temporarily shifted east to facilitate sewer construction and underground utility work around 17th & Rhine. Meanwhile, Holgate traffic between S.E. 15th and 18th Avenues will remain restricted into early November to accommodate the ongoing sewer work at 17th.

With much work done already completed, and space freed up, commuters have hopes that the intersection will soon be able to afford increased traffic flow, or at least a left turn lane for southbound motorists to prevent the monumental clog that develops when a motorist stops to turn left in the only available westbound lane on Holgate at 17th.