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Work on realignment of the intersection will kick into high gear in the next few weeks

JASON CHANEY - Much of the construction work taking place so far is confined to the 10th Street legs of the intersection.

Some early work has already begun on a 10th and North Main Street intersection realignment, and the project will kick into high gear soon.

The approximately $1.3 million City of Prineville transportation project is intended to change the intersection to more of a traditional four-way T. Currently, the east portion of 10th Street is south of the west portion of the street. In addition, the city will add new traffic signals with protected left turns and improve pedestrian crossings.

According to City Street Supervisor Scott Smith, the project was scheduled to break ground after the local school year concluded on June 11. The intent was to complete the work when school bus traffic was minimal. However, the chosen contractor, Taylor NW, asked to start early on portions of the project that were not expected to cause major traffic interruptions.

"There are some improvements to the Prineville Funeral Home parking lot," Smith said. "There was some work that was done to realign the east leg of 10th Street on the (city-owned) Chamber office property."

Work last week prompted the closure of 10th Street between Main and Belknap streets. Smith said that the natural gas line that feeds the Ochoco Heights area had to be lowered to accommodate the new grading and elevation of the street. Additional work on that portion of the street includes storm drain improvements and the construction of curb and sidewalk.

This week, project efforts are shifting to the west leg of 10th Street, prompting a closure from Main Street to Beaver Street.

"That will allow them to go in and put some storm drainage that is required," Smith said. "That portion of the project isn't a complete reconstruct. A lot of that is just grinding the old asphalt and then repaving at a different elevation."

The closure of that block is expected to last until about the end of June.

While the improvements to the 10th Street legs take place, workers have been drilling the holes for the concrete bases that will support the new traffic signals. Work on three of the intersection's corners was planned in the near-term, but drilling on the southwest side will have to wait for an undetermined period of time. Smith explained that a communications utility has not yet completed its relocations.

"We are pushing them as hard as we can, but they are not responding very well," he said.

Beginning in July, the project is expected to shift to work on the Main Street portion of the intersection. Smith points out that it will not be a complete reconstruct, only requiring grinding the existing asphalt to a new elevation, but it will involve some traffic changes.

"We will move out into Main Street and be along the west curb line," Smith explained. "We will shift traffic over toward the east. We will maintain two-way traffic on Main Street."

Project work beyond that point does not have an official schedule, but as work continues, the city hopes to keep two-way traffic flowing on Main Street. But if a road closure is ever necessary, Smith said workers will provide a detour that goes east on Loper Avenue to Elm Street, then south to Seventh Street, then west back to Main Street.

The project is expected to conclude before school resumes in September.

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