'Work is really progressing well through the final phase,' LOT spokesperson Katy Kerklaan said.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story quoted Kerklaan as saying rooftop gardens would "help produce stormwater runoff" when she actually said "reduce stormwater runoff."
For more than two years, one of the tallest structures in West Linn loomed over the Robinwood neighborhood.
It wasn't a building or a water tower, but rather a bright red crane brought in for the bulk of construction at the new Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOT) treatment plant. Last week, LOT and nearby residents celebrated a significant milestone as a smaller portable crane arrived to permanently remove the larger tower crane.
It was just another sign that the project — which has faced considerable backlash since it was approved by the West Linn City Council in 2012 — is nearing its end.
"Work is really progressing well through the final phase," LOT spokesperson Katy Kerklaan said. "Construction is about 90 percent complete and on track for completion in spring 2017."
The tower crane removal came on the heels of another milestone, as LOT recently completed the last major structural concrete pour at the water plant site. According to Kerklaan, about 18,000 cubic yards of concrete have been poured for all of the new structures at the plant since construction began.
"At the end of construction, they still have a few small pours for sidewalks and other site improvements," Kerklaan said. "But aside from that, (concrete pours) are complete. It's a great milestone we've reached."
The $250 million project is designed to upgrade and increase system capacity to deliver drinking water from the Clackamas River to Lake Oswego and Tigard, while also providing a seismically secure source of emergency water for West Linn. As part of a land use agreement with the City of West Linn, LOT paid the city $5 million, which it opted to use for the replacement of the 100-plus year old Bolton Reservoir — West Linn's primary water storage unit. Construction of that reservoir began earlier this year.
In December 2014, the Slayden Construction Group announced that the expansion and replacement of the LOT water plant in West Linn would be delayed by almost a full year. No other major delays have occurred since that point.
Last July, LOT announced the project was fully online and providing water to both Lake Oswego and Tigard.
As construction winds toward the finish line, LOT contractors will spend December installing equipment for the ozone treatment system that will be used at the plant, while continuing to remove construction materials once they are no longer being used. As that takes place, residents can soon expect positive traffic changes on Mapleton Drive.
"Mapleton will see a substantial reduction in truck traffic," Kerklaan said. "In the coming weeks, crews will pour the remainder of sidewalk on the southwest corner of the site, which will remove the western construction access point. After this, the main entrance will be in and out of Kenthorpe."
She added that the change isn't expected to negatively impact Kenthorpe, as truck traffic in general continues to decrease.
"Neighbors will definitely see, as we move forward, a reduction in truck traffic — particularly with major concrete pours complete," Kerklaan said.
December will also see the installation of rooftop gardens at the plant's electrical, administration and water pump station buildings.
"They will help reduce stormwater runoff and replenish the groundwater," Kerklaan said.
Once 2017 hits, Kerklaan said a small contracting crew will remain on site with a major focus on getting the ozone treatment system up and running. The plant was designed to use ozone as an oxidant that eliminates taste and odor-causing compounds.
"That will take a few months for them to go through and test the new system," Kerklaan said. "They'll also, in winter 2016-17, be working on the final site improvements."
Those final improvements include landscaping across the plant site and freestanding stone walls. When construction is completed, LOT will also open up access to a pathway between Mapleton Drive and Kenthorpe Way.
"It will be great for neighbors to have access," Kerklaan said.
In all, final completion is expected at the end of May 2017. To learn more, visit lotigardwater.org.