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As two large subdivisions are constructed developers will shave a hill on busy road to improve sight lines

 - Contractors have begun work on North Valley Road between Chehalem Drive and North College Street to 'shave' the slope of a section of the road to allow better sight distance on the thoroughfare.

Drivers in the North Valley Road area can expect delays throughout the summer as the thoroughfare will be closed to allow a new street to be installed to access two housing subdivisions under construction.

North Valley Road is within the county's boundaries, but Yamhill County Public Works Project Manager Bill Anderson said the project is not something the county initiated. Instead, he said it is being undertaken by private developers, who are constructing nearby housing subdivisions.

"Where they wanted to put it there was a hill that wasn't allowing good sight distance to pull out," Anderson said, referring to a rise in North Valley Road east of Chehalem Drive.

Anderson said the developer, Del Bocca Vista, and contractor the Saunders Company, needed to shave the hill to create better sight distance.

Newberg Public Works Director Jay Harris said while the city is not involved in the project, city officials are aware this will impact residents, so the city has posted notice of the work on its website that the road will be closed to all traffic except residential and emergency services between Highway 219 (North College Street) to Chehalem Drive. There is a detour via Foothills Drive.

The website warns that all streets in the area are posted at 25 mph and cautions drivers to be alert for pedestrians, children and bikes. Foothills Drive has a senior center, two schools and a sports complex, prompting the low posted speeds.

Anderson said this is similar to work the developer and contractor have done in the past ahead of constructing subdivisions.

For example, they had to do the same thing for Gracie's Landing, a 53-lot subdivision on the southern side of North Valley Road and east of Chehalem Drive. Construction of that subdivision is anticipated to be completed by summer's end.

"They had the same thing, they had to have a city street come in and shave a hill," Anderson said. "This is the next phase of that development to the east. They need better sight distance."

Jerry Wallace, project manager with the Saunders Company, said the anticipated construction for shaving the hill will continue through early August.

"We were hoping to shorten it up as much as we can, but we had to deal with the local utility companies. We were held up by them," he said. "But, hopefully, we shave some time off the closure itself."

The project under construction is known as King's Landing and will ultimately be a 76-lot residential subdivision. Wallace said King's Landing has three phases and will ultimately border Gracie's Landing.

In addition to shaving the hill, he said the work being done now will accommodate the new grades of the subdivision to allow for curbing, utilities and pavement.

"We need to get the road down to accommodate the new facilities," he said.

Wallace added that a project known as Dutchman Ridge is also in development for that area and includes a 46-lot residential subdivision. Del Boca Vista's website states the first phase of Dutchman is under construction; the second phase is undergoing final public improvement construction document review.

Likewise, it states King's Landing is a three-phase project, with mass grading complete. It states the development is now undergoing final public improvement construction document review.

MacKenzie Davis, land acquisition and development manager at Del Boca Vista, said between King's Landing and Dutchman Hill, there is a total of five phases of construction. However, she said houses can't be built until public improvements are made, so there is no definite timeline set. However, she said the first phase of public improvements on the Dutchman project is wrapping up, so home construction on that phase could begin this summer.

"We have to do all the improvements before I can build houses," she said, adding the improvements can be done in phases as well. So as soon as one phase of improvements is done at either site, they can begin home construction.

However, she added Del Boca Vista always tries to be "a good neighbor," so they try to do work when school is out. They are also in close contact with the police department, fire department, wastewater department and others.

"We work with anyone impacted and that effects the timeline," she said.

Davis added that in addition to shaving the hill, and the improvements they will make on the streets – ranging from new pavement, sidewalks, a landscaping strip and others – North Valley Road will "look a whole lot better out there, less like a county road and more like a city road."

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