In preparation for J Street project

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Dry Canyon Construction and Excavation clears out the former parking lot at the Jefferson County Fire Department in preparation for the J Street/highway realignment project. The parking lot will be narrower when it is repaved.The Jefferson County Fire Department parking lot is getting a remodel in advance of the Oregon Department of Transportation's Madras South Y project.

"ODOT has paid us to acquire approximately 15 feet of the north side of our lot, so we're having to tear out and rebuild the parking lot," said Brian Huff, fire chief.

"Essentially, because we're losing the parking spaces, we're moving them south and east," he continued. "We will still have parking in our business patron parking, but it will be real shallow; the landscape buffer will be gone."

The fire department has hired Dry Canyon Construction and Excavation, of Madras, to do the work, which will be paid for by ODOT. "The bid came out at about $286,000 to remodel and rebuild the parking lot," he said.

The J Street Intersection (Madras South Y) Project is scheduled for bid opening in the fall, and construction to begin in late fall or early winter.

The northbound lane of U.S. Highway 97 will be rerouted onto South Adams Drive, veering off at L Street and joining South Adams at Tracie Street.

"When it becomes the highway, they're going to take another one and one-half to two feet (on the west side), but it won't change much," said Huff, noting that fire trucks will exit northbound onto South Adams. "We'll have a yellow blinking light to warn people if we're coming out on the highway during an emergency," he added.

"ODOT has been very good to work with," said Huff, who is expecting the project to be finished in September.

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