Construction to improve safety along one of the most dangerous roads in Portland recently concluded.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - New rectangular rapid flashing beacons on North Lombard Street in Portland.A years-long plan to bring safety improvements to one of the most dangerous roadways in Portland is complete.

North Lombard Street, also known as U.S. Highway 30 bypass, is the 11th-highest fatal and serious crash corridor in Portland, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. A crash occurs every nine days along the key freight route, a segment of which runs through several residential neighborhoods of North Portland with schools, popular restaurants and stores. Crashes on the highway result in injuries 53% of the time.

ODOT's work to reconstruct 1.4 miles of the highway between North Boston Avenue and Fiske Avenue in partnership with the Portland Bureau of Transportation began in early 2021.

That work is now finished, ODOT officials announced in a press release Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The previously four-lane roadway is now three lanes, including a center left-turn lane. Additionally, the project included constructing:

• 1.3 miles of new pavement.

• 2.4 miles of buffered bike lanes.

• Five new traffic signals.

• Two pedestrian-activated crosswalks and median refuge islands to improve pedestrian visibility and safety.

• 177 curb ramps compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Pedestrian-activated crosswalks with rapid flashing beacons alert motorists to stop for pedestrians ready to cross the street. ODOT officials called the increasingly common addition to high-crash corridors a "critical part of our efforts to maintain a modern and safe transportation system."

Studies show converting roads from four to three lanes helps reduce crashes by 29%, and a center turn lane helps reduce crashes by 19%, according to ODOT. It also reduces the crash risk for drivers turning left on and off Lombard, agency officials said.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - This aerial shot of North Lombard Street, where a project to construct road safety features recently concluded.
The center turn lane will also make the flow of traffic more consistent for all modes of transportation, with fewer stop-and-go movements, ODOT officials say.

In November 2019, the ODOT officials defended plans for the project against issues raised by the Portland Freight Committee, the news website reported. The industry group advises the city of Portland on freight mobility.

Committee members voiced concerns about the project's impact on freight capacity and traffic flow. ODOT officials have said that while they would make sure freight isn't hindered, the purpose of the project was to improve safety.

To learn more about this project, click here.

Max Egener
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