HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Widening the rest of Riverside has to wait

Written May 5th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

A curve in the section of Riverside Drive that has not yet been widened.

So when is Riverside Drive south of Albany going to be widened the rest of the way? Eventually, probably, but not right away. That’s the word from Linn County.

A few days ago, Jeff Senders left this comment on hh-today: “What’s new on the road widening project along south Riverside Drive? Connecting from the Grange Hall to the Hwy. 34 bike trail would be a safety improvement and also finish the job.”

You may remember that after several years of planning, the county’s contractor repaved and widened the 2.4-mile segment of Riverside from Oakville Road to Meadow Road. That $1.9 million project was finished in the spring of 2018.

The plan has always been to continue the widening all the way south to Highway 34. Besides upgrading the county road, the idea is to provide four-foot paved shoulders to serve as a safer route for cyclists to connect with the bikeway to Corvallis that ODOT built off Highway 34.

I put Jeff’s question to Linn County Roadmaster Darrin Lane. Here’s his response:

“We have delayed the next phase of the project due to a heavy work load from grant funded projects. These grant funded projects have strict timelines and the funds must be obligated within those timelines. An example is the Mill City TIGER grant we received to rehabilitate the pedestrian bridge, First Avenue bridge, and reconstruction of Broadway street. This project is in addition to several federally funded bridge projects, two Federal Lands Access Program grant projects in the Sweet Home area, and a grant funded project to add a turn lane on Seven Mile Lane at SELMET. The Riverside Drive project is still active and we are working on the design as time permits. Riverside is not a grant funded project and is being funded through regular county road funds.”

So, there’s no timetable, it appears, but at least the Riverside extension is not dead. Which is good because as you can see in the video below, the unwidened section has some narrow shoulders, a potentially dangerous drawback for cyclists and motorists both.

Until the rest of Riverside gets four-foot shoulders like the section from Oakville to Meadow, the promise of this alternative route for “active transportation” between Albany and Corvallis remains unfulfilled. (hh)



5 responses to “Widening the rest of Riverside has to wait”

  1. North Albany Guy says:

    Thanks for staying on this one and reporting.

  2. Ron Green says:

    I think it’s quite likely that widening the pavement will increase vehicle speeds, making it more dangerous for people on bikes. Instead there should be a way to slow the cars. What could that be? (Hint: signs don’t work.)

    • Jeff Senders says:

      There’s good news and bad news Ron. The good news you are exactly correct. The bad news is cars already speed on this road so the widening project won’t have any effect on increasing speeds whatsoever!

  3. Dave Smith says:

    Narrow bike lanes, storm water grates, improperly repaired utility excavations in the road way, and debris on the shoulder all create hazardous conditions as any cyclist can attest. Eight/ten years ago, during the construction of Timber Ridge school, the access to the construction site was via a gravel road running north from Knox Butte Road (this graveled road is now Timber Ridge street). Rocks and gravel from the constant traffic of gravel trucks had spread out on across the shoulder onto the Knox Butte creating a very hazardous condition for cyclists to navigate on what was, and still is, a fast stretch of road. I contacted the School District and they had the contractor broom back the gravel to clear the roadway and shoulder. So non-abusive complaints to the right ears, esp a public entity, do get results.

    • centrist says:

      Second your last sentence.
      1. The result you get depends on how you pitch your request.
      2. If you present a problem, also present a reasonable solution.

 

 
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