Bypass on schedule, on budget
While the Newberg-Dundee Bypass is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year, the final leg of construction — connecting the bypass to Highway 99W via Springbrook Road — could be among most inconvenient parts of the project for drivers.
Phase 1 of the bypass is well over halfway complete, but most of the work so far has been a hassle to a relatively low number people on south sides of Dundee and Newberg; the next segment will be more broadly felt as Springbrook Road is completely rebuilt, according to Lou Torres, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
"So, that's going to be the biggest headache, unfortunately, for local motorists and travelers," he said. "Now we're doing Springbrook and we have to rebuild it now, so now they're really going to see and feel the impacts of it a little bit, unfortunately, for a few months."
This will start Feb. 6 with the closure of Fernwood Road between Springbrook and Brutscher roads for up to six weeks. During that time, construction crews will add a new storm water line and rebuild the road with new curbs and sidewalks, Torres said.
The road will be accessible for people who live and work in the closed section of the thoroughfare, but non-local traffic will be encouraged to travel to the north, according to a press release from ODOT.
Once the Fernwood Road work is complete, construction will move onto Springbrook Road proper, rebuilding it to handle the higher volume of traffic planners expect for it as the connection between the bypass and Highway 99. He noted that the majority of the work at the intersection of 99W and Springbrook is complete.
Torres could not give an official date when Springbrook Road will close, but he expected that date will be in early spring and keep the road closed for several months.
Overall, Torres estimated that Phase 1 of the bypass, an undertaking of about $262 million, is about two-thirds completed and he expected that it will be finished on schedule, specifically sometime in either November or December this year.
Dividing Phase 1 into three segments, each being handled by a different contractor, Torres said the western segment near Dundee is almost complete and the middle segment south of Newberg is also nearly two-thirds finished.
Torres said this phase has been under budget, allowing for a couple of "preemptive" right-of-way purchases for Phase 2 of the bypass ahead of the increase of property values expected in the area. Phase 2 of the project extends from Highway 219 to the base of Rex Hill and travels between Chehalem Glenn Golf Course and Providence Newberg Medical Center.
However, Torres said no other funding or schedule exists for Phase 2 of the bypass. He noted that the lion's share of funding for Phase 1, about $192 million, came from the state through the Jobs and Transportation Act, passed by the Legislature in 2009.
Torres said bypass planners are looking for a similar boost in funding from the state before they can begin work on Phase 2 of the bypass.