ODOT representatives discuss next steps for Highway 213/Toliver Road project

ODOT representatives Elizabeth Wakefield and Engineer Kate Frietag came to the Dec. 12 Molalla City Council meeting to talk about the next steps to the Highway 213/Toliver Road project.

Wakefield described current events, which include the clearing of vegetation and new signage that she said could help reduce accidents. But there's more that will go on, including lighting -- Highway 213 can be very dark at night—and whether they will suggest a roundabout or a traffic signal to reduce accidents at that intersection.

Answering a question from Jody Newland, Wakefield noted the project probably won't be complete for another two to three years. ODOT completed a technical summary last September, which led to a list of potential solutions; least to most expensive ways to fix the problem. There are three potential categories -- first is indicative of the least risk compared to others; the second is a higher risk than some and lower risk than others and the final category potentially is the most expensive and greatest compared to other solutions. However, it's likely to come down to the two most expensive solutions found in the third category, either a roundabout or a traffic signal that offer the best potential.

There will be another audit followed by three to five months for a consultant to survey the area. At that point, ODOT will be at a concept level continuing to determine the best solution. A roundabout will take longer to build, but a traffic light is more costly long term. At this point ODOT prefers a roundabout, but the final choice won't happen for another two to three years.

Dec. 12 was also the last time Glen Boreth would sit on the City Council, having deciding this would be his last term. Each councilor wished him well and said they would miss him and the help and mentorship he'd given each one.

"I'm not sure that words will do it [your career here] justice," said Mayor Jimmy Thompson.

"It's been a great group, I've been here for more than 11 years," said Boreth. "The departments and staff are great. The city and the staff have grown leaps and bounds in the last five years."

In other work, council members voted to authorize City Manager Dan Huff to approve an intergovernmental agreement with Clackamas County for a building code review. The state has made some changes in that area.

As for the vehicle registration fee, most council members were against the idea, saying the state and county take enough money. Several noted that Molalla residents had killed a potential street tax, which would have netted $468,000 to fix the streets compared with the $183,000 that the state would pay Molalla from the vehicle registration fee.

Carol Rosen
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