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Consultants present final recommendations, public hearings to be scheduled later this year

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - Matt Hastie, a project manager with Angelo Planning Group, right, speaks with the St. Helens City Council and Planning Commission about preferred design options for key intersections during a special meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 20. A framework plan for roadway designs leading to the St. Helens waterfront are a step closer to completion.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, Matt Hastie and Matt Bell, consultants with Angelo Planning Group and Kittelson & Associates, presented a draft version of recommended designs for roadways and key intersections along Gable and Plymouth roads, and a future connector road to 1st Street as part of the proposed Riverfront Connector Plan.

The Riverfront Connector Plan is designed to present a framework of what roadways could look like in order to accommodate future traffic that would result from development of the city's waterfront property.

During discussions Tuesday night, the City Council and Planning Commission met to hear the presentation and provide feedback. The consultants have been meeting with a special advisory committee since last year to develop design plans and solicit input before narrowing their recommendations to one option for each of the key intersections.

Final efforts on developing the plan before it is ultimately adopted by the City Council are expected to wrap up in June.

Public hearings regarding the proposed roadway connector designs are to be held with the Planning Commission and City Council later this year, although dates have not yet been announced.

While some of the roadway designs include fairly straightforward improvements, like creating sidewalks and bicycle paths, others were much more complex. For example, Plymouth Road and Gable Road could utilize a three-spoke roundabout to control traffic at the intersection, which features a stop sign on Plymouth Road where it connects with Gable.

Other suggested changes include a larger, four-spoke roundabout at Kaster Road, which would replace the current stoplight. Consultants estimated that upgrading the current light to modern standards would be cost-prohibitive and recommended the roundabout design as a more cost-effective feature that would better handle traffic flow.

Another proposal at the intersection of Old Portland and Gable roads, and Gable Road and Railroad Avenue, also call for the realignment of the roadways by moving the intersections north and south, respectively, to divert traffic further away from the railroad.

Grant funding to draft the Riverfront Connector Plan was made available to the city through the Transportation Grant Management program, a joint program of the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development in 2016.

Updated materials for the project can be found on the project's website www.riverfrontconnectorplan.com.

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