Clackamas County: Tariffs hit home with traffic-signal delays
Clackamas County officials say that a $835,000 traffic-signal project for safety at a major intersection is delayed because of the impact of tariffs on aluminum and other metals.
County contractor Northstar Electrical's order of signal poles for the Highway 224/Springwater Road intersection is not expected to arrive until the fall to make completion of the project "by the end of 2018." County Project Manager Stan Monte said the poles were put in the manufacturing queue by the first week of June.
Monte said that a normal signal-pole order's submittal-to-delivery time is about three months, and the current situation is about the worst he's ever seen it, which was a more than five-month delay in 2007 and '08 due to a steel shortage.
Because of the delay in receiving the signal poles, county officials say there may be "some time" between when traffic-signal preparation work is completed and the actual signals are installed and become active. County officials say their order of aluminum poles was delayed by the current erratic and expensive supply of aluminum, steel and other metals.
Starting in June, the Trump administration put 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, as part of a string of protectionist policies that have caused targeted countries to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. products.
County officials noted at the beginning of this year that ongoing project delays pertaining to the Carver Bridge have been frustrating for area residents and visitors. Monte said quite a bit of advance work is needed before the actual signals can be installed, including setting foundations for the signal poles and conduits for signals; installing curbs, sidewalks, storm drainage; moving utilities, if needed; paving; and striping.
Preparation work to install a new traffic signal next to the Carver Bridge began the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 1. Work will take place both at night, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday-Friday and during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on and off through the end of September. The work will involve lane closures, and flaggers will help direct traffic.
North and south approaches to the Carver Bridge are scheduled to be completed in spring 2019.
Project updates are available at clackamas.us/engineering/hwy224atspringwater.html.