D Avenue construction underway in Lake Oswego's First Addition
Construction is underway on the D Avenue Improvement Project, with signs of work now clearly visible to passing drivers and a series of temporary road closures disrupting traffic during work hours.
"There's a lot of work taking place," says Citizen Information Specialist Katy Kerklaan. "Not just on D Avenue, but also side streets as well."
Crews from contractor Emery & Sons are currently in the process of installing a series of stormwater lines, including on D Avenue from Fifth Street to Seventh Street and on First, Eighth and Ninth streets between E and D avenues. An old stormwater line on D Avenue from Seventh to Tenth streets is also being replaced.
The project is intended to address drainage issues throughout First Addition, and to allow for future stormwater improvements in the northern half of the neighborhood.
Project crews are also working to install a new water line on First Street between D and E avenues. Water service will be switched to the new line once it's completed, which is expected to result in brief water service shutoffs. Impacted neighbors will be notified in advance.
At the same time, utility crews from NW Natural are working to relocate a gas main line that currently runs under D Avenue between First and Tenth street, starting with the section between First and Third streets. The work must be completed before construction on D Avenue can begin in earnest.
Opening up a road inevitably leads to unexpected discoveries underneath, Kerklaan says, and construction crews have to react and adjust to new developments. When NW Natural began work on the gas line, she says, they quickly discovered a broken water line near Eighth Street and D Avenue that needed to be repaired as well.
"That (gas line relocation) was a requirement so we could install the facilities we needed to," Kerklaan says. "But they've had slow progress, so our crews have had to jump around and coordinate with them so they're not in each other's way."
Work is also continuing on the removal of trees and bushes in the current and future construction areas, as well as trimming branches that hang too far into the D Avenue right-of-way.
Major utility work is expected to continue for approximately one more month, necessitating daily road closures during working hours.
"Most of the road closures right now are temporary, meaning daytime closures in one or two blocks where crews are working," Kerklaan says. "However, there will be a time coming this summer where there will be full 24-hour road closures in place, probably for several weeks — we're hoping no more than two months."
Road reconstruction is currently scheduled to begin in June, once utility work is completed, and will result in the closure of the entire length of D Avenue between Tenth and State streets. The intersections of D Avenue and First, Fourth, Seventh and Tenth streets will remain open to north-south traffic, with flaggers to direct drivers during the times when work is taking place in those intersections.
During road construction, one crew will first go through block by block and remove the asphalt, starting at First Street and working west toward Tenth, circling back and finishing on the block between State and First.
A second crew will follow and work on the concrete items, such as new sidewalks, gutters and curbs. Stormwater planters will then be installed, followed by paving later in the summer, most likely in August. Landscaping and lighting installation in the fall will finish out the project.
"They're not just doing a repaving — they're coring out the entire road and then putting rock back in," Kerklaan says. "They'll remove several feet of what's actually there right now and improve the subgrade."
As construction ramps up, Kerklaan says city and project staff are conducting public outreach to remind neighbors about project safety, and they stress that residents should avoid trying to pass through any of the work areas.
"Particularly in the closure zones where they're actively working, we're trying to encourage folks — not just traffic but bicycles and pedestrians — to really steer clear of those zones," she says. "It's not too far out of the way to take another route."
Despite the warning signs around the work sites, Kerklaan says crews have reported seeing a number of violations during the initial weeks, including drivers, bikers, joggers and dog walkers all passing straight through the work zones. If the violations contiue, Kerlaan says Lake Oswego police will begin making extra patrols through the area.
In particular, Kerklaan stresses that when the closure signs say "local access only," the word "local" doesn't mean any resident of the neighborhood — it only refers to residents who live inside the work zones and can't access their houses by any other route. Some drivers have been telling crews that they're local but then driving straight through the work zones, she says.
The public outreach also included a "Meet the Contractor" meeting in late April, shortly before work began, where Kerklaan and other project officials gave residents a chance to learn about the project schedule and get questions answered.
Several questions focused on the street lighting. Officials clarified that there are multiple types of streetlights involved in the project — some near the library are at a medium height, while others along D Avenue are higher. Three new streetlights will be added along D Avenue, along with low-level lights along the adjacent sidewalk.
Some of the sidewalk lights will have shields on the sides facing houses in order to avoid disruption. It will be possible to install additional shields after the lights are finished if residents request it, officials said.