Rebuild of Kane Drive will lead to 49-day closure this summer
Gresham City Hall will dangle some juicy carrots — and carry a big stick — in hopes of speeding up the planned rebuild of Northeast Kane Drive this summer.
The contractor in charge of rebuilding the pipe beneath the roadway will net $25,000 for every day they can shear off the 49 days budgeted for the closure.
On the flip side, if the shutdown drags on past that seven-week deadline, the company will see $25,000 a day deducted from their bill. Both the incentive and the penalty top out at $350,000.
The closure timeline, which is still a bit shaky, is expected to start in July and run through September before the first day of classes at Mt. Hood Community College on Sept. 24. Even after the complete closure ends, drivers will be restricted to fewer lanes as workers finish up paving and landscaping.
"We're hoping people will do some research ahead of time and maybe find some regional approaches, or just avoid the area if they can," said Jeremy Provenzola, a water resources manager for the city, during a community meeting about the project on Tuesday, March 13.
The total cost of the project is approximately $3.9 million, though the Federal Highway Administration will pick up about 89 percent of the tab.
The new 34-foot-long culvert will help fish in Kelly Creek move along a natural streambed, and replaces the makeshift channel built after heavy rainfall flooded the street and destroyed the pre-existing culvert in December 2015.
For those without gills, however, the construction will create an impassable chasm — meaning that Kane will essentially be closed between Northeast Division Street and Southeast Stark Street.
Local access will be reserved on Northeast 23rd Street from Kane to Hogan Drive, while Kane itself will be open between Stark and 23rd streets and between Division and 17th streets. Northeast 17th Street will be open to locals only between Kane and South Troutdale Road.
Keeping side streets open has some neighbors worried. After all, more than a few motorists were caught moving barricades in order to sneak through quiet neighborhoods during the closure of Stark Street last year for a similar culvert project overseen by Multnomah County.
"They rip through our neighborhood at 40 or 50 mph and think nothing of it," commented Calvin Reese, a hydraulics salesman who lives on Southeast 40th Street. "Let's not forget about the safety of the people in the community."
Provenzola promises the city will coordinate with wayfinding apps like Google Maps and Waze in order to reduce nonlocal traffic on side streets.
"Their algorithm will just put people anywhere," the senior engineer noted. "We're going to try to keep those routes from popping up if people are using navigation."
The city calculates that closing Kane costs the community roughly $62,000 a day in lost productivity and snarled commutes. Between 30,000 and 35,000 motorists rumble along the route daily under normal conditions.
Many residents will recall the 6 inches of rainfall that pounded Gresham on Dec. 7, 2015, creating a gushing torrent that washed out the culvert and caused a deep fissure across the full width of Kane Drive.
A full rebuild at that time would have taken four to six months, so Gresham's elected officials choose instead to install two temporary pipes as a stopgap measure.
The project wrapped in 40 days, restoring access to a major connection between Interstate 84 and Highway 26.
"It wasn't just Kane Drive and the arterials nearby. I don't think you could drive out here in East County without feeling the impact of the washout," said Provenzola, who also served as project manager for the emergency rebuild of the culvert.