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County covers Tualatins alignment options

124th Avenue proposal key to Southwest Corridor Plan


by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The end of Southwest 124th Avenue at Tualatin-Sherwood Road could see a major overhaul. The preferred alignment option would extend the road south, and eventually end at an intersection with Southwest Grahams Ferry Road.As the county presented several options for a 124th Avenue alignment, Mayor Lou Ogden urged the city to get citizen input at the earliest opportunity — even though construction on the project is still three years away.

The 124th Avenue alignment is part of the Southwest Corridor Plan — systematic transit improvements between eight community partners, including Portland, Sherwood, Tigard and Tualatin, and Multnomah and Washington counties, the Oregon Department of Transportation, TriMet and Metro.

The long-term 124th Avenue alignment would include a half-mile stretch cutting through what is now an active quarry. At the county’s urging, Tualatin will select a short-term alignment solution that should be completed by the end of 2016.

Russell Knoebel, principal engineer with Washington County, and city management analyst Ben Bryant presented the county’s four proposed routes for short-term re-alignment during the City Council's work session on Monday. The council voted to recommend an east-west conceptual roadway last December, but that option ends at Tonquin Road. In anticipation of Basalt Creek Area development, the city recommended a more far-reaching alignment.

An “interested parties group,” comprised of Basalt Creek area businesses and property owners, favored alignment option four, which has a projected cost of $31.6 million, Knoebel said.

“The county will likely only ask you for $10 million to 15 million,” Knoebel explained, a number that was greeted by laughter from the council.

Option four would extend 124th south from where it currently ends at Tualatin-Sherwood Road, and the roadway would eventually veer east just below Tonquin Road, ending at an intersection with Grahams Ferry Road. An additional (extension segment) would bisect the new alignment to allow for greater connectivity along Tonquin Road.

This option would require the construction of a full-width bridge over WES tracks.

This appears to be an evolution of previous alignment options, like option three, which addressed safety concerns about heavy traffic from gravel and concrete trucks by redirecting the alignment. But this proposed alignment would have still run through a major Bonneville Power Administration corridor.

Option four veers slightly west of the option three alignment.

This option is also the cheapest of the proposals. Still, Knoebel acknowledged the price of adding an intersection at Grahams Ferry Road was considerably high for an intersection improvement project.

“It involves raising that intersection by roughly about 12 feet,” he explained.

Mayor Lou Ogden questioned how much sway area property owners had in the city’s recommendation. Knoebel explained that option four stood out in the options evaluation matrix, which considered safety, traffic, capacity and overall impact factors of each proposed re-alignment.

But the City Council heard that option four would also have the greatest wetland and waterways impacts, and Councilor Joelle Davis asked whether a bridge would be necessary. Knoebel said the project would likely require the purchase of a mitigation bank to offset the project’s environmental impact.

“There is going to be a home that's impacted with this, and there's clearly going to be some developable property that's impacted by this, but there hasn't been an overwhelming opposition to any of this,” Knoebel said.

Bryant proposed a public outreach schedule which includes a community forum and open house at the Tualatin Public Library on May 23, and a City Council recommendation on July 8.

View the proposed alignments here.

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