A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why the Queen Ave. job has been delayed

Written November 17th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The Queen Avenue water line construction site on Friday afternoon, Nov. 17, 2023.

Albany city officials say complications with two railroads are still delaying construction of a new water main on Queen Avenue just east of Pacific Boulevard.

The street there crosses four railroad tracks. One is the Union Pacific mainline. The other tracks are used mostly by the Portland & Western.

Queen Avenue has been closed at that spot since early September. Motor traffic is being routed along circuitous detours, but people on foot and on bikes can get through.

On Friday, Albany city officials put a message on Facebook, and presumably other media, explaining why the city’s contractor, K&E Excavating, Salem, has not been able to finish the job.

Here’s the text:

“Construction to extend a new water line on Queen Avenue across Highway 99E under the Union Pacific and Portland & Western railroad crossing east to Ferry Street started at the beginning of September. Because trenching across railroad tracks is impossible, a construction method called ‘jack and bore’ is used.

“The two railroads require separate permits, and each company requires its own flagging contractors to be present while this type of construction occurs. The railroads and their flagging contractors have yet to coordinate a date when they can be on-site so that K&E can complete the water line work. The City and K&E stand ready to complete the job, but the earliest possible date the two railroads have indicated availability is December 18.

“Therefore, on Monday and Tuesday construction crews will fill the bore pit with compacted rock, cover it with temporary asphalt patching, clean up the road, cover detour signage, and reopen the road before the holiday weekend.

“When all contractors are available, there will be another (shorter) closure to bore, install pipe, and backfill. Then, to minimize further traffic impacts, the remaining water line testing and final connections will be completed with lane closures and/or night work.”

The  city also pointed out that this water line project has nothing to do with an ODOT project to update the railroad crossing itself with new arms and signals. Construction of that $1.3 million project is supposed to start in 2024.

The city invited people with questions about the water line project to call Public Works Engineering at 541-917-7676 during office hours. (hh)

I don;t know whether it is ground water or rain that filled the bore pit on Queen Avenue.

4 responses to “Why the Queen Ave. job has been delayed”

  1. Don says:

    Interesting, somebody didn’t have it all lined out. Do they still have a job?

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    Typical featherbedding by the railroad unions.

  3. Al Nyman says:

    Take them to court! No sane judge would allow this nonsense to go on. Furthermore, go to court and get a contractor other than the railroad to put in the crossing which now total $3 million plus. That is one of the largest rip offs in Albany history.

  4. Cap B. says:

    Seems that I will be continuing to use the back streets to get across town and won’t be expecting Queen Avenue to be open any time soon. Could be a year or years. Who knows.


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