After six months of near-constant construction, heavy equipment moving through First Addition and rolling road closures, the D Avenue Improvement Project is nearing completion.
Crews are now putting the finishing touches on stormwater swales that will help catch and filter water before it's released into Tryon Creek — one of the last steps in a project that has reconstructed the entire 10 blocks of D Avenue from State Street to 10th Street and made additional utility and pavement improvements to portions of First Street, Seventh Street, Eighth Street, Ninth Street and E Avenue.
Final completion of the project is expected in early January.
"The end is near," said Katy Kerklaan, the City's citizen information specialist. "Now that paving is complete, they're excavating the rain gardens and stormwater swales and finishing pouring concrete on a few areas of the sidewalk."
Residents have been waiting a long time for that sidewalk, which will create a much safer way for pedestrians to connect to schools, downtown businesses, the library and other services in the neighborhood.
"The sidewalk is a great asset to the First Addition neighborhood," Kerklaan said.
The road itself already looks different. The lanes for vehicles are about the same width as before, but portions of the road now meander, with slight curves to allow for the new sidewalk, bioswales and rain garden areas and more clearly delineate the parking areas within the public right-of way.
"It looks very different," Kerklaan said, "but it's a huge improvement, so it's exciting to see it come to fruition."
The final improvements to the stormwater catchment system lining D Avenue will be completed in the coming months, Kerklaan said. That includes the last bit of concrete pouring and excavation of the rain gardens, as well as the installation of more rock, soil and plants that will serve to both improve the aesthetic of D Avenue and filter its stormwater.
According to Kerklaan, there are 40 of these stormwater facilities along the street that will be a huge improvement in the treatment and filtration of the water that eventually ends up in Tryon Creek. She said she's also hopeful the sidewalk lighting installed along the street will be energized by Portland General Electric in the coming weeks.
Kerklaan said she has received dozens of phone calls and emails from residents who have been pleased
with the outcome of the project. "We really want to say thank you to everyone for their patience," she said, "because the (construction) impact has been quite substantial."
She said the contractors on the project have also been great to work with, particularly Emery & Sons Construction out of Stayton.
"They've been great and really accommodating to work with. They've also been great with our residents," Kerklaan said. "We've had many calls and emails from residents on D and neighboring streets who have been complimentary of their work. They've been very professional."
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