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New streets in Villebois mean changes for local drivers


Closure of SW 110th Avenue means four months of detours around Villebois

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Work is already underway on demolition of SW 110th Avenue. In its place a new Villebois Drive North will connect with Tooze Road and the Boeckman Bridge, shown here in the background. Work on the new Tonquin Woods residential development in Wilsonville’s Villebois development got underway some months ago.

Now, the roads that will bring future families in and out of the new neighborhood also are under construction, bringing big changes to local residents and a long-familiar north-south route through the area.

SW 110th Avenue, a rural lane that at one time provided the city’s lone connection between Graham’s Ferry Road and Interstate 5, was closed to vehicle traffic for good on July 9. The street as configured is being demolished. In its place will come Villebois Drive North. The new street will extend northwest from Mont Blanc Street and a new roundabout to Tooze Road and the roundabout at the west end of the Boeckman Bridge.

Other new streets will lead west off Villebois Drive into Tonquin Woods, a 57-lot subdivision that will feature 40 attached row houses and 17 small detached homes and cottages.

“It will provide that north-south connectivity,” city planner Dan Pauly said at a March council meeting, “along with bike lanes, sidewalks and all those other amenities.”

Sherwood firm Northwest Earthmovers Inc. is carrying out construction of the new roads. An estimated 100,000 cubic yards of earth will eventually be moved off the site, company spokesman Jeff Dickson said July 7 at a Wilsonville City Council work session. That amount of dirt, he added, has made scheduling the project difficult, given the seasonal constraints on roadwork caused by Oregon’s weather.

“There is a large amount of grading, just over 100,000 cubic yards of dirt that needs to move,” Dickson said. “So from a schedule standpoint we don’t think it’s practical to leave 110th open during that part, or any portion of the project to really meet our deadline.”

Presently the company hopes to have the new Villebois Drive alignment completed and re-opened to traffic by October 31.

Some councilors expressed concern that the project, which first gained public attention in March when the council formally approved vacation of 110th Avenue, was being sprung on the public with little notice.

“It seems like what we’re facing here is a bit of a surprise factor in the neighborhoods in Villebois,” said Councilor Richard Goddard. “The folks I heard from were surprised by the duration of the closure, particularly on the heels of the long closure of the Boeckman Bridge, so I think what would be helpful would be if we can help people understand why there wasn’t more effort put in to finding another alternate route through here in advance of construction, or why we can’t realign the roadbed and do additional grading after that.”

The uneven nature of the ground complicates construction along 110th Avenue, while an underground natural gas line running parallel to the street introduces a further hazard for workers.

Construction could be done while a single lane of traffic remained open along 110th Avenue, company officials said. But doing so would set back completion of the project probably into December, risking weather conditions that could potentially delay work even longer.

“That’s just kind of the nature of construction in winter,” Dickson said. “There’s a lot of things you just can’t do when it’s raining.”

During the approximate four-month closure of this north-south route in Villebois, two detour routes will be available:

n Western Detour Route: Barber Street in Villebois, then Grahams Ferry Road to connect to Tooze Road.

n Eastern Detour Route: SW Boeckman Road to Boberg Road to Barber Street to Boones Ferry Road.

The City Council approved vacation of Southwest 110th Avenue in March. Portions of the vacated road will be found in several new streets, including SW Villebois Drive North, SW Berlin Avenue and SW Stockholm Avenue. In addition, parts of what used to be SW 110th will also become bike lanes and sidewalks, as well as parks and residential lots for Tonquin Meadows.

Pauly said the gradual dismantling of SW 110th Avenue has been a part of city plans for the area for several decades now. The latest development marks the final end to the street.

“This alignment existed well before other development there,” Pauly said, pointing to a 1980s era aerial map of Wilsonville showing the still-open Dammasch State Hospital. “Historically, it was the only route between the freeway and Graham’s Ferry Road.”

A map of the detour routes and the impacted area is available online at ci.wilsonville.or.us/110thAvenue.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Work is already underway on demolition of SW 110th Avenue. Shown here, an earth mover heads south on what eventually will become Villebois Drive. Lowrie Primary School is in the background.