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Washington County planners settled on a roundabout last year. They now have a rough timeline for construction.

COURTESY MAP: WASHINGTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION - An overhead view depicting the planned roundabout at the intersection of Southwest Farmington and River roads south of Hillsboro. North is up in this view.A heavily trafficked intersection in rural Hillsboro is slated for major changes.

The Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation is encouraging members of the public to read up on plans to turn the intersection of Highway 10, signed locally as Southwest Farmington Road, and Southwest River Road into a roundabout junction, as well as to provide their feedback via an online open house.

Comments will be accepted through Aug. 29 as part of the online open house. Planners are looking for feedback on any part of the proposal, including the design, construction timeline, detours and other issues.

The intersection of Farmington and River roads south of Hillsboro sees heavy traffic, especially at peak commute times. Melissa De Lyser, a spokesperson for the Department of Land Use & Transportation, told Pamplin Media Group that the average daily traffic, or ADT, is 15,000 to 16,000 vehicles.

"The consultant is projecting 20,000-22,000 ADT by 2040," De Lyser added.

Highway 10 runs from Southwest Portland to Scholls, where it meets Highway 219, signed locally as Southwest Hillsboro Highway.

River Road connects Highway 8, signed locally as Southeast Tualatin Valley Highway in Hillsboro, with Highway 210, signed locally as Southwest Scholls Ferry Road, west of Beaverton and Tigard.

The county held an open house last year to gather feedback as it worked to identify the best way to upgrade the intersection. Planners' goals are to reduce both the amount of time motorists wait at what is currently an all-way stop and the risk of crashes at the intersection.

At that time, the county landed on a roundabout, which will be off-center and just to the southwest of the current all-way stop, as the best solution.

According to county officials, out of more than 260 comments collected last year on the intersection plans, 176 people indicated support for a roundabout, with most of those saying an offset and/or southwest alignment would be preferable.

The Cruise-In Country Diner has been a longtime landmark at the intersection. The restaurant closed earlier this summer, and the owners sold the property to Washington County. It will be demolished to make way for roundabout construction.

"All the intersection options impacted the Cruise-In Country Diner," the open house website notes. "We bought property in May to provide these much-needed improvements to the intersection of Farmington and River roads. The purchase benefited both Washington County travelers and the owners of the diner, who were ready to retire."

The county is still in the process of acquiring right-of-way to begin construction, according to its website. It expects to have all the land it needs by spring 2022, at which point construction will begin.

Along with installing a roundabout, Farmington Road will be widened immediately north of River Road, the county says. That will be the first phase of construction.

River Road will be closed south of Farmington Road for about three months in mid-2022 while the lower part of the roundabout is built, with traffic detoured to Scholls Ferry Road and Hillsboro Highway.

As construction shifts to the center of the roundabout, both Farmington and River roads will be open, but traffic will be rerouted, effectively preventing vehicles on River Road in either direction from simply driving through the intersection and continuing on River Road. That third phase is expected to take about three months as well.

During the fourth phase in fall 2022, River Road is expected to be closed north of Farmington Road for about two months while the final section of the roundabout is built. During this time, traffic will be detoured to Hillsboro Highway and Minter Bridge Road.

All told, the project is expected to cost about $6.3 million. It is funded through Washington County's Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program, which pays for regionally significant road projects throughout the county.

For more information or to comment on the project, visit fr.washcoopenhouses.org.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from a Washington County spokesperson.

By Mark Miller
Editor-in-Chief, Washington and Columbia counties
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