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Here is Wakeman as we last left it, a few months ago, after the 22nd Avenue Extension project in May, as part of Update 28.


And as the title confirms, we'll be going back and looking at the infamous "Mystery Highway" project (last seen Update 6), which had been proposed as a rather expensive freeway alignment of Highway 24 on the north side of town, involving about 5-6 miles of bridges over the Cascadia River.

TDOT and the City of Wakeman have had a little bit of a change of plans, though.



North Wakeman Corridor Project

The North Wakeman Corridor Project, a joint project between TDOT and the City of Wakeman, has been aimed at examining the possibilities for a new expressway or freeway link on the north side of Wakeman, near the Cascadia State University campus. The initial alignment option that had been planned included building a freeway on the north banks of the Cascadia River, which would the river upon reaching Wakeman City Limits near the Wakeman Boulevard (Highway 24)/Topographic Drive (Highway 89) intersection (not pictured on maps, but approximately 1 mile west). This crossing would include approximately five miles of bridges, traversing between Highway 89 in the west and Highway 28 to the east, near Belew Mountain. Because of its massive scope and the fact that the alignment would be elevated for much of its length, residents had jokingly nicknamed it the "Interstellar Overdrive". This plan is detailed in the map below:


However, further study on the Wakeman area and its traffic patterns, as well as a cost analysis, have resulted in alternative option, Alternative A. Instead of a freeway realignment of Highway 24 with a series of costly bridges (estimated at $16 billion), Alternative A involves the construction of only 1.5 miles of bridges as part of an expressway, which will serve as a new alignment for Highway 89. This expressway will connect on the south end to South 11th Avenue near the CSU campus, and on the north end to the existing Topographic Drive alignment.

TDOT and the City of Wakeman do, however, believe that an east-west freeway is still needed to accommodate future growth, and allow for a unified system throughout the region. To this effect, work is beginning on a South Wakeman Corridor project (which will be featured in the next update)

The initial start of the 11th Avenue connection (looking north)


The east end of the new bridge (looking north)


Existing Topographic Drive, going under the rail bridge (facing west)


The tunnel was demolished, as it will not be needed after the completion of the project. (facing west)


The first part of the bridge constructed (facing north).


The middle landfall on Floyd Island, between the two spans (facing north)


The bridges are now open to traffic. Where the tunnel used to be, the new Highway 89 expressway jogs over (facing west)


The 11th Avenue connection (facing north)


The original Topographic Drive alignment of Highway 89 where it now connects in to the new alignment. (facing west) TDOT has decided to keep this section of road within the highway system, as Highway 189.


An overview of Wakeman with the new Interstallar Overdrive/Highway 89 alignment complete. Upon completion, the bridge, appropriately enough, was named the Richard Wright Memorial Bridge.


Here's a map of the finished product.


Back with more next time . . .

-Alex (Tarkus)

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