From L Street to Fairgrounds Road

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Bioswales, to catch excess water and pollutants from highway runoff, will be lined with grass between U.S. Highway 97 and the sidewalks - on both sides of the road - before the pedestrian project in south Madras is completed later this month.The sidewalk project on the south end of Madras, which started in late winter, is on track to finish up by the end of the month.

The $1.44 million project, funded primarily by an Oregon Department of Transportation grant of $1,238,960 for transportation enhancement, includes installation of 6-foot-wide sidewalks, curbs, lighting and landscaping from L Street south to Fairgrounds Road.

The contractor first made improvements on the west side of the highway, including widening the turn onto Fairgrounds Road, and is now working on the east side.

Business owners are looking forward to the conclusion of the project, but expressed satisfaction with the way the contractor, Knife River Corp., has worked with them.

"We feel very happy about it," said Pat Watson, of Hairworks, on the southeast corner of Bard Lane and U.S. Highway 97. "All the companies that work here have been exceptionally nice to us; they've tried to accommodate people at the entrance."

When plans called for the closure of their entrance off Bard Lane, she said, the contractor even moved landscaping to make room for more parking. "It's been a little inconvenient, but it will be worth it."

At Abby's Pizza, associate manager Debbie Glaspey said they're surviving. "I don't know that it's slowed anybody down," she said. "We've actually done pretty well; people have figured it out."

Between Hairworks and Abby's Pizza is the new storefront for Wild Winds Ranch, owned by Jeff and Jennifer DuPont, in the former Soundz Unlimited building.

"It definitely slows things down, but I think they're doing a good job of getting it done," said Jeff DuPont. "It's an inconvenience, but it's sure going to be nice when they get it done."

In front of Wild Winds Ranch will be the new median strip in the road to help pedestrians cross the highway from the area of Circle K. The concrete median strip will take the place of the turn lane that currently goes into the southernmost entrance to Circle K. At that entrance, southbound drivers will only be able to turn right into the parking lot, or right out to the southbound lane of the highway. From the northern entrance, drivers will still be allowed to turn either right or left.

The project, overseen by OTAK Consultant Engineering, will have landscaped swales, and decorative lights along the sidewalks by the end of the month, according to Jeff Hurd, Public Works director for the city of Madras.

"I think everybody's been really happy (with the project)," he said. "We've had a few minor incidences, but there really haven't been too many problems."

Contract Publishing

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