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Gable Road project gets ODOT grant

$2.8M for improvements, including new sidewalks, bike lanes

by: FILE PHOTO - St. Helens High School, located at 2375 Gable Rd., in between Columbia Boulevard and Highway 30 in south St. Helens. The reconstruction project on Gable Road for which the Oregon Department of Transportation grant award will be used is intended to provide pedestrians and cyclists, including students going to and from the school, with complete sidewalks and bike paths along the stretch of roadway.A joint project between the city of St. Helens and Columbia County to reconstruct Gable Road in south St. Helens is a step closer to fruition with the approval of a $2.8 million state grant.

Sue Nelson, interim co-director of the St. Helens Public Works Department, announced the acquisition of the award at a St. Helens City Council meeting Wednesday, May 21.

“The county and the city jointly will be working on a $2.8 million reconstruction of Gable Road,” Nelson said. Of the grant award, she added, “We’re really excited.”

Project manager Tristan Wood, an engineering project consultant with the Columbia County Road Department, said the grant award will be used to build sidewalks and bike lanes along the road from Highway 30 west to Columbia Boulevard, past St. Helens High School, as well as improve roadway drainage and resurface the road.

“With the growth and development out in the area, there’s missing sections of sidewalk and width of the roadway for bike lane access,” Wood said. “This project is to fill in those gaps ... and provide a walking path to the high school, basically.”

Design work is scheduled to begin early next year, with construction expected to take place in summer 2018, Wood said.

St. Helens Mayor Randy Peterson said the city had been trying to line up funds for work on Gable Road for about 15 years.

The county, which controls the right-of-way along that stretch of roadway, has also been wanting to embark on the project, according to Wood.

“This has been the highest priority for the city and been one of the top three priorities of the county for many years,” Wood said.

Approval of the Gable Road grant comes as St. Helens continues its work on a master plan for its other major street corridors: Highway 30, Columbia Boulevard and St. Helens Street. Those designs also include improved accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians.