­­­­­Road News­­­­­ June 2022

cornell tunnel

Upper Saltzman

Advocates for the western alignment option for upper Saltzman were heartened to find a $20 million allocation on the list of proposed projects for the next Major Streets Transportation Improvement Projects (MSTIP) funding package, but the excitement was short-lived when the scoring matrix presented to the Washington County Coordinating Committee (WCCC) Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) (prepared by Land Use and Transportation (LUT) staff) gave it very low priority.

alignments map

Of the eight criteria used to evaluate projects, none of them considers long-term transportation goals for regional transportation. (See page 20 for the “Evaluation Metrics” list.) As Jody Wiser said in her letter to members of the county Board of Commissioners (BCC), “The big issue for me is the future.  Those hills seen beyond the [western] alignment will surely fill with homes as did the hills that are now Forest Heights. The western alignment provides for a clear new pathway north. It connects to 130th, a street designed to be an urban collector, not a neighborhood street (Bannister Drive) with houses fronting the roadway. Connecting Saltzman to it, without the zig zag of two intersections on Laidlaw or 55 driveways will be the far safer and more expedient alignment for the future.”

BCC will discuss the Saltzman Road Realignment during its June 14 meeting. WCCC will review MSTIP recommendations from TAC on June 13, and on June 28 BCC is scheduled to review recommendations and authorize the project list for the public outreach effort set to begin in July. LUT Public Affairs and Communications Manager Melissa De Lyser said, “All of the submitted projects are worthy of funding. The challenge is to identify which projects are suited for funding right now, with this specific funding source. The Saltzman project did not stand out on many of the metrics based on county staff interpretation, but we can reconsider with your input and input from others.”

Cornell Tunnel set to open this month

cornell tunnel
The lights are in and just waiting for a little more testing

According to Portland Bureau of Transportation, “All the structural repairs to the tunnels are complete and the power lines for the new lighting system have been installed. Crews are now working on the final step of powering the meters and lighting system. Once the new safety lighting is operational, both tunnels will be reopened. PBOT expects to be able to fully reopen both tunnels in June.”

We wrote about the long delay in completing the project in the May issue.

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