A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Queen Avenue: Post-paving questions, answers

Written September 12th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Traffic waits on Queen Avenue Tuesday for the light to change.

Most of the reconstruction of Southwest Queen Avenue in Albany was completed before Labor Day, but questions keep popping up.

One of the questions is about the traffic signals at Queen and Elm Street. How come the phases of the lights now are much longer, some people have wondered on social media.

Ron Irish, the transportation systems analyst at City Hall, has the answer to that question:

“The Queen/Elm traffic signal is set up to use loop detectors in the pavement.  The loops sense the presence of vehicles and adjust the signal timing accordingly.  The old loops were in the top layer of pavement and removed as part of the recent resurfacing work.  As a result the signal has been operating under a set timing program, and that’s why drivers are noticing that it’s not responding to vehicles the way it used to.  Installation of new loops started yesterday and should be completed shortly.  Once installed they will need to be inspected and tested before we can put the signal back on “active” mode.  Not quite sure just exactly how long that might take.   ODOT traffic signal staff will be doing the inspection/testing work as part of a maintenance contract we have with them.  I checked with Chris Cerklewski (our project engineer) and he’s not yet heard what ODOT staff’s current work schedule looks like.”

Somebody asked me why there were still steel plates on Elm Street even though the most of the work crews and their machinery are gone.

I forwarded the question to Chris Cerklewski, who as Irish said is the project engineer. His reply:

“The steel plates are covering locations where manholes were paved over and are being adjusted back to the surface now that the paving work is completed.  This process requires a few steps, and the steel plates allow the road to be open to traffic while the work is taking place.”

City officials have said all along that some work would remain to be done after the big push to get this main road repaved in time for the restart of school.

The steel plates and remaining orange traffic cones are a public reminder that the work goes on. (hh)

Looking west on Queen past the Elm Street signal on Tuesday afternoon.

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