Alignment project that had been delayed is moving forward with construction expected to begin next year

The intersection connecting North Main Street to Northeast 10th Street and Lamonta Road has some alignment issues that the City of Prineville would like to address.

Lamonta connects to Main about a half-block north of where 10th Street does, and the local public works department had hoped several years ago to renovate it, so it would resemble a more conventional T-shaped intersection.

However, those plans fell by the wayside when an attempt to use federal funds to align the intersection exceeded city means.

"In 2006, the city got a federal earmark. It was $490,000 to construct the Ninth Street bypass," said City Engineer Eric Klann.

The Ninth Street bypass is a project on the city's transportation system plan that would extend Ninth Street across Main Street and down the railroad right-of-way to Northeast Seventh. From there it would follow Seventh, then Laughlin Road out to East Highway 26.

The money came well short of the $4 million to $5 million needed to complete the east-west truck bypass. The city was able to complete a survey and preliminary design of the corridor, but couldn't afford anything further. So public works leaders decided to use the money to fix the misaligned 10th and Main intersection.

"We had $150,000 left, and that should have been enough money to realign and redesign the intersection," Klann said. "The issue was it was federal money, and if it's federal money, you have got to jump through so many hoops."

Different analyses required to complete the project would cost the city $50,000 to $75,000 apiece, he said, so the project kept getting bigger and bigger. Ultimately, the city was only able to complete design of the revamped intersection but nothing else.

The project was ultimately shelved until recently when the city had collected enough funds to launch another project that gave the intersection alignment new life.

"Now, we have funds through our system development charges (SDCs) that we have been collecting, and we would like to finish our railroad sewer," Klann said.

He explained that several years ago, when construction of St. Charles Prineville was under way, that the city ran an 18-inch sewer line from the hospital site down the railroad right-of-way to Northeast Seventh Street. Because they had enough money to extend the pipe to that location, it dropped down to an existing 8-inch line from Seventh Street to 10th and Main.

"We are going to take that 18-inch line and construct it on the right-of-way and hook it into our big 10th Street sewer at 10th and Main," Klann said. "When we do that, we're going to have to completely rip up that intersection."

While that work takes place, the city will use transportation SDC funds it has collected in recent years to complete the intersection realignment.

"While we are in there, while we have that intersection destroyed, let's fix it," Klann said. "We can do it so much more inexpensively with our (city) dollars versus federal dollars, and we can do it much more quickly."

Design of the project is scheduled for this coming winter, he said, and construction will start in the fall of 2019.

Construction work is not expected to take place on any private property at the intersection, except for the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce land, which is still owned by the city.

"Our plan is to utilize some of that property to align the intersection," Klann said.

The intersection fix will also require some changes to the traffic signals, but the city will catch a break in expense on that part of the project as well. Klann noted that City Street Supervisor Scott Smith purchased some used signal poles three or four years ago at essentially no cost, and they will be installed during the project.

Intersection construction is expected to take about four to five months, during which time Klann expects detours will be necessary. He acknowledges that work on such a busy intersection will create traffic issues, so whenever possible, the city will try to complete the work at night.

"We understand how much that impacts people," he said of daytime construction, "so, we will try to do that as little as possible."

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