Plans are to resurface Railroad Street from Pine to Main streets using a concrete overlay

by: RAY PITZ - Railroad Street is now closed between Pine and Washington streets as a major resurfacing project begins. The asphalt is being removed, replaced with concrete.For the next several months, motorists traveling down Railroad Street in Old Town will have to find an alternate route. Today the city officially shut down the well-traveled thoroughfare from Pine Street to Washington Street as work crews prep the site for a $1.2 million concrete road and sidewalk overlay.

Meanwhile, the intersection of Railroad Street at Washington Street will remain open until Monday when it too will shut down. Then on Feb. 15, Railroad Street from Washington all the way to Main Street will be closed as well.

Plans are to dig up the old asphalt street and replace it with concrete, a material that is expected to last three times as long, according to Jason Waters, the city’s project manager for Old Town renovation.

K & E Excavating out of Salem is the contractor for the work, which is expected to last through March.

Waters said sidewalks will be open to pedestrian use during the construction as well as all merchants in the area (which number almost 50 in the downtown core).

Speaking of sidewalks, they too will receive a facelift, expanded to a whopping 12 feet on the business side of Railroad to create more space for Old Town merchants.

During the project, those who want to access the area can park in the old gravel parking lot south of the railroad tracks. Also, once all of Railroad Street is completely shut down, motorists will be allowed to park head-in to spaces created along Washington Street instead of utilizing parallel parking. That will continue through April 1.

The Railroad Street project is a continuation of the 2006 streetscape effort where most of the Old Town streets were redone. A complaint by some residents at that time was that the streets and sidewalks were at the same grade, causing confusion about where the sidewalk ended and the street began, creating the possibility of cars striking pedestrians on the sidewalk. As a result, the new Railroad Street sidewalks will contain a small rolling curb to distinguish that separation, similar to those in front of Cannery Square Plaza on Pine Street at Columbia Street, said Waters.

Once the Railroad Street project is complete, crews will begin work on Washington Street, the final phase of the streetscape project that is expected to be completed by the time Cruisin’ Sherwood rolls around in June.

For more information and maps, visit the city’s website at HYPERLINK "" Residents with questions can contact Waters at HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-925-2304.

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