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City partnering with Ochoco Irrigation District on project to extend the road to Peters Road and alleviate traffic pressure

PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF PRINEVILLE
 - Plans for the Combs Flat Road extension are shown in this photo. The road will continue beyond Barnes Butte Elementary and travel north and slightly west and connect to where Peters Road currently dead-ends.

Sometime in the next couple years, the city of Prineville will extend Combs Flat Road north and connect with Peters Road.

The project, which has been under consideration for several years, has become top priority among local transportation projects due to recent growth on the north side of town and anticipated growth in the years ahead.

"Right now, north-south travel is really tight," said City Engineer Eric Klann. He went on to note that North Main Street is the only way for local residents to access several subdivisions north of Loper Avenue – unless you opt for a much longer trip down Barnes Butte Road.

The addition of a 700-student elementary school at the north end of Combs Flat Road and a large-scale apartment complex near Peters Road has further heightened the need to provide a second north-south option.

"We want to get in front of the curve on this and hopefully get the solution in place before the (Peters and Main) intersection fails," Klann said.

Currently, the north end of Combs Flat Road ends alongside Barnes Butte Elementary School.

The paved road transitions to a gravel road that leads to the parking lot for the Barnes Butte Recreation Area, but aside of that, the area north of that point is occupied by an Ochoco Irrigation District canal and open land.

Fortunately for the city, their needs coincide with Ochoco Irrigation District's plans to complete a $30 million watershed project. Part of that effort includes piping the portion of canal between Combs Flat and Peters – a necessary action to make the road extension possible. So, city officials decided to partner with the district and complete their projects at the same time.

"Over the course of the last year, we got to final design on the route," Klann said, noting that they have worked with OID on the design. "Our thoughts are we want to be ready in case there are some stimulus dollars that come down, so that we can direct them to the ($6 million) extension."

The road, as currently designed, would continue north, traveling just west of the IronHorse subdivision and bend northwest toward the east end of Peters Road. Klann said the piped canal will run adjacent to the road path and provide room for a pedestrian path.

"It will be nice. It will have a nice, paved walking trail on top of the canal easement," he said. "We are going to try to raise the canal easement and path up a little bit, so it will shield the (IronHorse and Pahlisch) neighborhoods from the street."

In addition, the city is planning to build an underpass that connects the Barnes Butte Recreation Area east of extended road to the planned pedestrian path.

In hopes of keeping traffic flowing on the extended road, the city will keep intersections to a minimum. Hudspeth Road will connect with the new portion of Combs Flat and possibly one other street from the Pahlisch neighborhood. The hope, Klann said, is that enough people will use the new road to reduce traffic on Main Street.

"At the end of the day, this is a road to get people from point A to point B," he said.


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