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Chemeketa: Northern Crossing Project, Part 2

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Here's where we left off last time . . . the new twin bridges on 52nd Avenue over the Willamette River are in place, and now work's about to get going on the infamous intersection with Highway 219 (facing east):

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You can probably tell that there's going to be some grade separation here. ORDOT has determined that because of the railroad that parallels Highway 219, it would be advisable to elevate 52nd Avenue to eliminate the level crossing. In order to do so, 52nd will be closed off between Progress Street and Highway 219, for construction of the new overpass. (facing east)

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Before construction, 52nd Avenue had an intersection with Liberty Street, a local residential route just past the railroad crossing (and now, just at the end of the elevated segment of 52nd). As you can see here, the intersection is closed off, and will in fact be permanently closed, for purposes of access control. Motorists from the south can use either Justice Street or Progress Street to access 52nd, while those from the north will have to use Progress Street (facing east). The overpass structure is only being built to an interim standard here, and will be beefed up a bit more toward the end of the project (facing east).

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Ramps are being constructed to eventually allow access between Highway 219 Northbound and 52nd Avenue. (facing east)

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This is just south of the 52nd Avenue intersection along Highway 219 (facing east). Aside from the brief 5-lane stretch near the 52nd Avenue intersection, it is a 2-lane expressway beginning just south of 33rd Avenue. In order to accommodate increased traffic, it is being converted into a predominantly 4-lane freeway as per the Chemeketa Parkway design specifications. This phase of the project will upgrade the roadway from the start of the existing 2-lane expressway segment, up to just south of 59th Avenue.

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Grading continues (facing east)

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Pavement has been laid on what will become the northbound lanes (facing east)

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This is the intersection of 39th and Highway 219 (facing east). This intersection is also having substantial difficulties stemming from the high volume of traffic, and is failing almost as badly as the 52nd Avenue intersection--#2 on the most dangerous list. 39th is an arterial roadway which, for much of its length, forms a border between residential and high-tech industrial areas, and has a "surfway" segment east of Ashcroft Street. It was only built as a landscaped 2-lane facility west of Ashcroft Street--adequate at the time, but not so much anymore. We'll see more of it in Update 70.

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This is the intersection of 33rd and Highway 219 (facing east), the south end of existing 2-lane expressway section of Highway 219 (you can see where the RHW-2 converts to a Road in the lower right corner). South of 33rd, Highway 219 takes on the Division Street name as it approaches downtown. 33rd is a collector roadway which runs right through the middle of one of the aforementioned high-tech areas. As you can see, it's also getting quite a lot of traffic and is failing to meet standards. Much of the strain on it will be reduced with the improvements to the 39th Avenue intersection.

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Now, back to 52nd and Highway 219 (facing east). The existing intersection has been demolished to allow for further construction on the new overpass, while the western segment of 52nd has been diverted onto another temporary roadway.

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In order to make way for resurfacing and widening along Highway 219, 2 lanes have been closed, restricting traffic to 1 lane in each direction (facing east). It's creating quite the backup, but it'll all be worth it when the improved roadway is opened.

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A look at Highway 219 north of 52nd while construction continues (facing north), with the narrowed form of the existing alignment side-by-side with the incomplete new roadway, which will have auxiliary lanes on and off the interchange with 52nd. You may also spot something else here--a standard issue ORDOT highway shield.

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Next up will be Part 3 of the Northern Crossing Project, and after that, we'll continue to spend some time in the general vicinity of 52nd and Highway 219--there's still a lot of construction to show there--culminating in a "mosaicfest" showing off the finished product, and a look at the Chemeketa Metro Area Regional Transport Plan.

-Alex (Tarkus)


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