Gunn: Rapid housing development overstresses old road infrastructure
There are several areas of Cornelius undergoing large-scale housing development. Almost 1,000 houses are currently being built in town.
The largest, south of town by Dogwood Park, has its own issues, such as all the new traffic will come out on either 20th or 26th avenues onto Tualatin Valley Highway, a.k.a. Highway 8. This highway is ill-equipped to handle more traffic as it is already overcrowded and dangerous. Also, 20th and 26th are narrow enough that if cars or trucks are parked on both sides of the street and two vehicles approach, it is a very tight fit, and if one is a big truck, probably won't.
However, I am more concerned about the development at the end of Northwest 341st Avenue. I live on this street and have for over 30 years. It was a quiet dead-end street with only local traffic. The only access to the highway is down a steep hill, which was treacherous in winter's icy conditions, to a stop sign.
Now, they are building 54 houses on the former 20-acre hay field at the end of the street. While I'm sure this housing might be necessary for the growing community, the street was not intended for that much traffic, and the original plan called for a bridge from the development to Hobbs Road to the west, which both the current residents of the street and new families were all going to use, and they were going to close our access to TV Highway. That, however, fell though; cost was given as the reason, but complaints from those living where the bridge would come out may have played a role. So they are using our street, Northwest 341st Avenue.
Upgrades to the street were minimal, leaving an even steeper hill to the highway, and the road also narrows at the top. Open ditches along the road that should have been filled in were left open in what can only be described as a poor job of upgrading.
Along the street is a new walking path, separated from the road only by a white line, which people drive into to avoid oncoming traffic. Not good for walkers, which I do a couple of times a day walking my dog.
While I would still like a bridge to be built, I assume that will not happen, and many more cars will be using our old country road to access the highway. One can only hope that not too many people are killed or hurt in accidents on our dangerous road before better upgrades or a new access to the highway is provided.
George Gunn is a resident of unincorporated Washington County.