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Cars ignoring detour on Stark Street in Troutdale cause Corbeth Lane closure by Multnomah County transportation officials.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Southeast Stark Street is closed for a short distance just west of the junction with Troutdale Road to allow for the rebuilding of a fish channel. This closure has led drivers to use Corbeth Lane instead, causing traffic problems. Don't take the short cut.

That's the message from Multnomah County transportation officials, who have blocked off a local side street because too many drivers were attempting to sneak by a road closure in Troutdale.

Motorists approaching the section of Stark Street shuttered by a fish channel rebuild are supposed to use a detour on Northeast 17th Drive, which eventually turns into Cochran Road.

But some drivers have ignored the signs, opting instead to zip down Southwest Corbeth Lane. That allowed them to reach either Troutdale Road or Stark Street without rerouting south around Mt. Hood Community College.

But no more.

After receiving numerous complaints from residents, road workers have blocked off Corbeth at Southwest 27th Way, essentially halfway between either arterial.

"(Corbeth Lane) is a very narrow residential street, so it's not really appropriate for local traffic," explained Mike Pullen, a Multnomah County transportation spokesman. "The detour is only about an extra mile, but some people are determined to take the shortest possible route."

Pullen said Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies were posted on Corbeth during the first days of the road closure that began Thursday, June 22. At first, they merely educated drivers who claimed to be confused by the detour signs.

Additional signage didn't halt the flood of motorists, and Pullen says some were even spotted getting out of their vehicles and physically moving the barricades out of the street. Pullen warns that behavior can be punished with a traffic citation or fine.

"(The detour) should only add a minute or two to people's routes, and it's just much safer if people would do it," he adds.

At the construction site, work crews have stripped off about 500 feet of asphalt and are busy removing the earth beneath. The stream beneath Stark Street, Beaver Creek, carries several threatened fish species, so construction workers will only be allowed in the water for about six weeks this summer.

Pullen says work on the new culvert is still on schedule.

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