A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Crossing on Queen: Another year of bumps

Written November 22nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The rail crossing at Queen Avenue: In a car it’s bumpier than it looks from this angle.

Bad news for drivers using the railroad crossing on Albany’s Queen Avenue: A project to fix the uneven crossing is likely to be delayed another year. Instead of being constructed in 2022, it may be done in 2023.

That’s according to an update that Ron Irish, the city’s transportation systems analyst, gave the Albany Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission last month. (As I said in a previous story, I just caught up with the Oct. 26 meeting by listening to an audio recording of it.)

The city for some time has had plans for repaving Queen Avenue from Geary Street west across the railroad tracks to Highway 99E (Pacific Boulevard).

The latest scheduling had envisioned that paving project to be constructed in the summer of 2022. But it has been pushed back a year because it has to wait for the Union Pacific and ODOT-Rail to rebuild the crossing, which as of May 2020 had been expected in 2022 as well.

The crossing work has to be completed before the street paving, and Irish now expects the rail job not to be done until 2023.

ODOT wants to make some changes to improve the safety of the crossing, especially for pedestrians. And in conjunction with that, the railroad is expected to replace the panels in the driving lanes between the tracks.

The state has been working on this since at least 2016, when it presented the plan to the city council, and the Oregon Transportation Commission approved the $1.3 million project in 2017, with construction expected in  2020.

But the thing  got delayed year after year. Why? One possible explanation is that it’s not all that important. Albany motorists worried about their wheel alignments might have a different view. (hh)


A view of the four-track crossing toward the Albany rail yard on Monday afternoon.



5 responses to “Crossing on Queen: Another year of bumps”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    Only slightly off-topic, but Hasso I know you know Ron Irish is a great public servant, and one of the best people I worked with in several government operations.

    If anyone deserves a kudo, it’s Ron.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Time to call BS on UP, ODOT, and the city.

    Safety, especially for pedestrians (as you say), is the stated priority of this project.

    If an unsafe condition exists you’d think the project would combine safety as a core value AND efficiency in getting the project completed.

    Given the delays and excuses stretch back over 5 years now, I think it’s safe to say UP, ODOT, and the City couldn’t care less about your safety or urgency of need.

    • Dick Inboone says:

      As usual, North Carolina resident grump Gordon places blame on the city when it’s clearly stated in Hasso’s post that they are trying to fix their portion but are held up by the railroad/ODOT. It’s clear you’re a miserable old man, but at least place your anger in the correct place in this case. Seriously, find a hobby back East.

  3. CHEZZ says:

    Bumpity Bump Bump, Bumpity Bump Bump, look at Frosty go….

  4. Dan Page says:

    Sounds like a blame game.
    If the repaving of Queen is scheduled, then do it. The paving can be done leaving the area short of the crossing unfinished until the tracks are completed, then the final area could be tied in and finished. You all know that putting the project off for a year is going to make the costs increase for more money than is budgeted. Paving is not brain surgery. Although, it takes a few heads to get together and make it happen and be done right. Remember; there are three types of people, Thinkers, Doers, and Wonderers. Which type are you?


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