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Chemeketa: Wallace Corridor Project

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Tarkus

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Hi everyone-

Back with another installment of Tarkusian Cities . . . we'll again be returning to Chemeketa to look at a series of roadway improvements being undertaken jointly by ORDOT and the cities of Chemeketa and Vivien Heights, which has been dubbed the Wallace Corridor Project.

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The Wallace Corridor Project is a joint venture between ORDOT, the City of Chemeketa and the City of Vivien Heights, streamlining a series of five smaller projects that are designed to improve traffic flow in the vicinity of the two cities' respective downtown cores. The Wallace Corridor consists of Wallace Road, Halvorson Road, and a short stretch of Highway 36.

Wallace Road is a major north-south thoroughfare, which connects downtown Chemeketa to downtown Vivien Heights with a bridge across the Willamette River. It is currently a two-lane road between Vivien Heights and its southern terminus at River Road SW in Chemeketa. With development occurring rapidly in Vivien Heights and in the Radio Hill area on the south side of Chemeketa, it will quickly become obsolescent. Additionally, its interchange with Highway 36 (Exit 69A) only has ramps to and from the east side, requiring traffic going between points west and Vivien Heights/southwestern Chemeketa to use the Commerce/Division Street exit (Exit 69B) and take a circuitous route along downtown streets.

Wallace also forms the half of a pair of offset T-intersections along River Road, with Halvorson Road serving as the other. As Halvorson Road is also suffering from significant congestion, the current configuration is causing issues with traffic flow on River Road as well.

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The improvements being undertaken as part of the Wallace Corridor consists of the following:

A. Reconfigure the Highway 36 interchange with Commerce Street/Division Street (Highway 219) to allow for a full diamond interchange with Wallace Road while minimizing weaving.

B. Replace Wallace Road bridge over the Willamette with a new 4-lane structure.

C. Widen Wallace Road to 4 through travel lanes between the bridge and River Road, with center turn lanes or landscaping in the medians as appropriate, replacing overpass over Highway 36

D. Realign Wallace Road on the south end, so as to form a 4-way intersection with River Road and Halvorson Road

E. Widen Halvorson Road to 5 lanes (4 through travel lanes with a center turn lane) between the reconfigured River Road intersection and 35th Street SW (south of the map boundary).

The project oversight committee, consisting of ORDOT, Chemeketa and Vivien Heights engineering staff, contractors, and key stakeholders decided to work on these improvements on a south-to-north geographic basis, beginning with subprojects C, D and E, which will provide the most immediate improvement and are less intensive.

This is a look at the current pair of offset T-intersections along River Road SW, looking north. The one on top is Wallace Road, the one on the bottom is Halvorson Road.

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This is Halvorson Road SW in the Radio Hill neighborhood, looking south. The main intersection there is 35th Street SW, the southern boundary of subproject E, with Radio Hill Elementary School located at the southeast corner.

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Halvorson Road at 31st Street SW, looking south, with construction already beginning.

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The intersection of River and Halvorson, looking north, after construction has begun. You can see the initial work on the Wallace realignment here, which will most likely take out a few homes.

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Halvorson just south of the River Road intersection, looking north.

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The north end of the curve on Wallace Road, facing north. The current alignment of Wallace Road, which has existed since it was first constructed in 1958, was chosen as it was cheaper than leveling part of the ridge bounding the curve and traffic volumes did not merit spending a lot of money. Today, that is no longer the case, and construction crews are beginning the process of altering the topography to make way for the new alignment.

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Traffic has been partially diverted onto sections of the new Halvorson roadway that has been completed, facing north.

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Halvorson Road at River Road, now widened to 5 lanes and with part of the new Wallace Road alignment in place, facing north. While it looks complete here, as you'll see, there's still a fair bit of work to do to the north.

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Old meets new. A few images of the excavation being done for the new Wallace alignment, while the old one continues to operate, facing south.

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The old alignment has now been disconnected from River Road, facing south.

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The old curve to the north has now been disconnected as well, facing south. Wallace Road has been closed for a short while the new alignment gets connected into the old.

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The existing Wallace Road interchange (Exit 69A) with Highway 36, and the new widened roadway toward the top, facing south.

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Construction begins on the interchange, facing south. The overpass will be demolished as part of the project, and the interchange closed for 3 months. You may notice there has been some new development just south of the interchange as well.

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That does it for this construction update. Subprojects D and E are now done, and we'll finish up C and take a look at A and B next update. After that, we'll travel to the north side of town, where a number of very large projects are in the works.

-Alex (Tarkus)

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Wow, fantastic update! I think that the traffic will be really smooth now. Nice residential areas too!

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