Lake Oswego's D Avenue project will create meandering road
Lake Oswego City staff say design work on the upcoming D Avenue renovation project is now 90 percent complete, with just a few details left to settle before the project breaks ground in the spring.
One of the biggest design questions has already been resolved: The new roadway will follow a meandering route rather than a straight line.
During earlier public outreach sessions, neighbors and residents were asked to weigh in on whether they would prefer that the road be rebuilt on its current straight alignment, or changed so it would curve back-and-forth slightly within its right-of-way.
The curving concept was introduced as a way to slow down traffic and discourage drivers from cutting through First Addition. Most of the neighbors had said they wanted to see slower traffic, but without adding speed bumps.
According to Project Manager Rob Amsberry, roughly two in three neighbors expressed a preference for the meandering option during earlier public feedback periods. The choice was unveiled at a public Open House on Oct. 26, and the City Council received an update on Nov. 7.
The project will impact 112 homes along D Avenue.
Amsberry said the City plans to take advantage of the work zone to pre-emptively replace some of the water utility infrastructure under the street and the connections to nearby houses, which should prolong the system's lifespan.
Comments collected at the October Open House showed strong support for the meandering road and related landscaping improvements. The only point of contention was the lighting — the designs call for adding new streetlights to a handful of D Avenue intersections that are currently dark, but some residents questioned whether the additions would fit with the character of the neighborhood and voiced concerns about light pollution.
"Overall, there is strong support for the project," City Information Specialist Katy Kerklaan told the council. "People understand the need to address stormwater issues in the First Addition area, particularly on D."
The project will completely rebuild a 10-block stretch of the street through the First Addition neighborhood, from State Street to Tenth Street. The area will also be upgraded with a new stormwater treatment system to help mitigate local flooding issues.
In response to a question from Councilor Jeff Gudman, Amsberry clarified that the meandering design won't raise the cost of the project, because the road has to be rebuilt from the ground up either way.
"The road out there is completely deteriorated — in some places there's no base rock whatsoever," he said. "So we're going to be going in there and coring out a specific depth for support rock and rebuilding it. The curved road doesn't add any length to it, so you're not adding more product or more work."
The project will also add a complete sidewalk along the north side of the street, extending east from Fifth Street. The current sidewalk on the south side of the roadway begins at State Street but dead-ends at the Fifth Street intersection.
The two lengths of sidewalk, along with an upgraded pedestrian crossing at the Fifth Street intersection, will create a continuous and ADA-complaint walking path along the entire length of D Avenue.
The sidewalk on the western half will also make it possible to walk in a pedestrian zone all the way from the Lake Oswego Public Library to Forest Hills Elementary School, which is located just north of Tenth Street on Andrews Road.
The new sidewalk will be separated from the roadway by either landscaping or parallel parking spaces. Some of the landscaping will include existing trees that will be preserved during construction — the meandering design will allow the road to curve around them, Amsberry said.
"Everywhere along the roadway, we've managed to buffer it with either parking, stormwater treatment or a landscaping feature," he told the council.
The City expects to seek bids for construction in January, Amsberry said, with the goal of awarding a contract in February. Construction is expected to begin in the spring and wrap up in the fall, although officials say final paving of the new road could be pushed back to spring 2019 if there are weather-related delays during construction.
According to City Engineer Erica Rooney, the project's cost is now estimated at $5.3 million, which is greater than the amount originally budgeted in the City's Capital Improvement Plan. Some of the cost increase is due to more water utility work being added to the project during the design phase, Rooney said, but a lot of it simply comes down to building costs.
"Just in general, the cost of construction is really starting to skyrocket," Rooney told the council. "The days of five years ago, when we were getting exceptionally good bids — I think that's turned with how well the economy is doing."