City lays out vision for paving project
Even with major work at the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOT) plant done, and the project near completion, residents of West Linn's Robinwood neighborhood aren't quite out of the woods.
A residual paving project on Kenthorpe Way — which runs adjacent to the water treatment plant — is still scheduled to ramp up in mid-September, and City representatives addressed about 40 concerned residents during a town hall-style meeting Wednesday, Aug. 23, at the Robinwood Station.
The City plans to completely redo the dead-end street in keeping with an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that was part of the LOT project. The majority of the funding for that effort is expected to come from Lake Oswego and Tigard. In July, the West Linn City Council voted unanimously to approve a $852,181 contract for the Kenthorpe paving project and a number of other projects included in the 2017 Road Improvement program.
Residents who attended that July meeting expressed a number of concerns, chiefly related to the prospect of Kenthorpe being closed to traffic during part of the paving project. Those worries had not abated by the time the Aug. 23 meeting rolled around, and residents were especially concerned with how the City would handle an emergency situation or someone with limited walking capabilities during construction.
Public Works Director Lance Calvert admitted that the project would have a substantial impact on the neighborhood.
"As an analogy, I sort of put it like this: We're not replacing the carpet in your house," Calvert said. "This isn't just pulling up carpet and putting down carpet. This is like tearing out your kitchen and putting your kitchen back. If I tear out your kitchen, that's going to really disrupt your day."
But Calvert was also unequivocal in stressing that the paving method selected — referred to as "cement-treated base" or CTB — was the best and most efficient method for getting the project done, and that the City would have a number of measures in place to ensure safety and efficiency throughout the process.
"The only other way to do a street like this is a complete reconstruct — take out all the asphalt, all the gravel, take it straight down to dirt," Calvert said. "That's really problematic, much more lengthy, much more time-consuming, much more disruptive."
Residents asked repeatedly why the entire street had to be closed during parts of the construction process. Calvert said the narrow width of Kenthorpe — less than 20 feet — made it impossible to close half of the street and allow traffic on the other.
"At 20 feet wide, I don't have the working space to split the road and safely get cars to come and go with traffic all day long," Calvert said.
The contractor, S2, will work under a 90-day contract for the whole project, which also includes sewer improvements on Mapleton Drive and Old River Road. Calvert said some work has already begun on Kenthorpe, but the heavy paving will likely take place over several weeks beginning in mid-to-late September. During the paving that requires complete road closure, S2 expects to work between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"We're thinking two weeks maximum of daytime road closure," Calvert said. "But we're trying to compress that; we're working with the contractor to do that."
The City has coordinated with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue to ensure that crews have access to Kenthorpe in the case of an emergency. At the request of a number of residents, the City Council will also discuss whether to have a golf cart available nearby to transport those who are unable to walk to and from their homes.
Residents continued to express frustration about the disruptive nature of the project, chastising LOT in particular for not allowing emergency access through its site — though Calvert insisted this would not be any faster.
"I guarantee you when this is done, you will be much more appreciative that this is the process we used versus a tear-out and redo," Calvert said.