The ruts and potholes are gone, new asphalt is laid down, and now it's on to the finishing touches

DAVID F. ASHTON - A massive road surface grinder here was mincing a layer of pavement and shooting it into a waiting truck; the remaining debris was then picked up by an industrial street sweeper. It's been a busy summer for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) supervisors and their contractors, as they took on the "OR 99E Paving Project: S.E. Harold Street to S.E. Harrison Street" – which largely wrapped up at the end of October.

The $10.1 million project included rebuilding parts of, and repaving all of, the 2.5 miles of pavement between those two cross streets – and included replacing and upgrading the hidden bridge under the highway for Crystal Springs Creek, adjacent to Westmoreland's Union Manor.

In September, contractors ground off the top layer of roadway and repaved the lanes, causing lane switchovers and closures along the highway, but leaving drivers a smooth ribbon of pavement on which to travel.

Then, during much of October, drivers on S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard navigated nocturnal lane closures from Harold Street down to Tacoma Street while crews finished the striping, and completed barrier and guardrail work throughout the project, and installed new landscaping.

"We're pleased that the major work has been completed, has been done well, and the project is still on schedule," ODOT Region 1 Community Affairs Coordinator Lili Boicourt told THE BEE. "The salmon in Crystal Springs Creek should be happy, drivers will like the renewed roadway, and the improvements to the highway's substructure and reconstruction will provide many years of good service."

During the remaining two months of the contract, ODOT supervisors will check all aspects of the project, making sure the work performed meets standards, and will work with contractors to fix any deficiencies they find.

"We're thankful for the patience the neighbors and those who use the highway," Boicourt added. "We know it's been disruptive, and we are grateful for the support."

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