The Aug. 16 story about the Corvallis-Albany — or Albany-Corvallis, depending on our viewpoint — bike trail generated more comments on this webside than any previous item. So you may be interested to learn that the Oregon Transportation Commission today approved partial funding of the project, and the question is: Now what?
An allocation of $2 million to Benton County for the trail was one of 36 “multimodal” transportation projects the commission approved under the ConnectOregon V program, which is dedicated to non-highway improvements. But don’t expect anything to happen right away.
I asked Benton County, which had asked for $4 million, how it planned to proceed. Laurel Byer, the county engineer, replied via email:
“That $2 million is slated for final design and construction of the trail from Independence Highway to Scenic Drive in North Albany. It is anticipated that funding for design will be released in 2015 and construction will commence in 2016. The county is also set to receive money from the 2015-2018 STIP Enhance Project grant process (I believe the OTC is supposed to finalize that project list this fall). The Enhance money will go towards final design and construction of the trail between Scenic Drive and Spring Hill Drive – design in 2016 and construction in 2017. It’s too bad that the construction of the two pieces couldn’t be coordinated for the same year, but I will not complain about receiving additional funding!”
There’s one more wrinkle: The right of way for the path has not yet been entirely nailed down. “We are still actively working on negotiations with the farmers and property owners,” Byer says. “No resolution as of yet.”
So, there may be unforeseen bumps lying ahead. Even if they are overcome, we’re talking at least three years before any set of tires will roll the length of that trail. Let’s all hope we live that long. (hh)