Travelers will see major road projects

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The empy lot near the Tigard Costco will soon be home to a large Walmart supercenter. The store and several road construction improvements are set to begin this spring.Tigard residents are no strangers to the sights and sounds of construction, and this summer there will be plenty of construction under way with improvements to Highway 99W near Beef Bend Road and Main Street.

But residents will also be contending with construction of a new Walmart supercenter in the Tigard Triangle and major improvements to Highway 217 and Southwest 72nd Avenue.

The retail giant announced last year announced last year that it would build a new store near the corner of Southwest 72nd Avenue and Dartmouth Street, joining a sea of other big-box competitors in northern Tigard, with Costco, WinCo Foods, Fred Meyer, Petsmart and OfficeMax a stone’s throw away.

The 137,900-square-foot supercenter is expected to begin construction this spring. Along with pouring concrete and erecting walls, crews will also have to make substantial improvements to many of Tigard’s roads to accommodate the expected increase in traffic to the city’s already congested roadways.

In a letter sent to about 3,000 residents and businesses near the future store site dated April 2, Deborah Herron, Walmart’s director of public affairs and government relations, laid out some of the construction challenges that residents will face in the next year.

Construction of the supercenter and road improvements are expected to begin in May or June, Herron said, and are likely to continue through late summer or early fall of 2014.

The Walmart store is expected to open sometime in 2014.

The city and Oregon’s Department of Transportation require Walmart to make extensive improvements to area roads, which have long been congested and will only get worse when the world’s largest retailer opens its newest store in Oregon.

Under its development plans with the city and ODOT, Walmart will have to widen Pacific Highway, adding a westbound lane, widening Highway 217 near the Southwest 72nd Avenue exit to accommodate the expected traffic increase.

Three new traffic signals will also be installed along Dartmouth Street.

Walmart will also be widening Dartmouth Street between the Costco and WinCo, as well as adding a through-lane on 72nd Avenue between Hampton Street and Beveland Street, and adding a left-turn lane from 72nd Avenue onto Beveland.

Herron said some of the construction would occur at night.

A wetland next to the property between the proposed Walmart and Costco will be preserved under an agreement with the city.

Rachel Wall, a Walmart spokeswoman, said that plans were in the works to hold a meeting with the community before construction begins.

“We are working with the (city) of Tigard to schedule a meeting that is several weeks in advance of the start of construction,” Wall told The Times “at which the contractor can be introduced and share the project timelines.”

Those meetings haven’t yet been scheduled, Wall said.

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