Proposed $2 million project would provide sidewalks for section of road

A potential $2 million improvement project for Highway 211 through Molalla could be in the works by next summer.

Mayor Debbie Rogge said ODOT officials are giving the project serious consideration. It would be completed in partnership with the city of Molalla, with ODOT providing the bulk of the funding.

Rogge said talks are underway between ODOT and the city to improve a section of the highway between Ona Way and Safeway.

The proposed improvement calls for widening of a bridge over a creek at that spot, providing pedestrian access, and additional construction in the adjacent areas.

Using urban renewal dollars, Molalla would provide 10 percent of the funding for the project..

“With Molalla chipping in, this could happen as early as next year,” Rogge said. “We would look at putting some urban renewal money towards that, and ODOT would contribute the main portion of the funding. This is still in the discussion stage, but it’s looking positive.”

Rogge, together with city Public Works Director Marc Howatt, has been working to gain ODOT’s interest in providing improvements along Highway 211 for some time.

She noted that deep ditches and narrow shoulders on that stretch of the road make it precarious for pedestrians.

“In that area, there’s not even a foot path for walkers to squeeze through,” she said.

The hope in Molalla City Hall is that the project will be the first of many to improve that stretch of Highway 211 through town.

“Once we prove we can be a good partner with ODOT, and put money on the table, they may be inclined to do more, so this is kind of a good faith project,” she said.

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