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Construction of a half-mile rerouting to Highway 219 is expected to be completed in July

RENDERING COURTESY OF ODOT - Plans for the project include redirecting the western terminus of Wilsonville Road onto Highway 219 via Adolph Road.

Work has begun to realign Wilsonville Road's western terminus where it connects to Highway 219 south of Newberg.

The firm hired by the Oregon Department of Transportation, Kerr Contractors Oregon, began the project on Feb. 19 installing temporary signs and mobilizing to work on the site, according to Francis Vidal, an ODOT engineer. He said actual construction will likely begin this week after utilities have been relocated, the land surveyed and equipment moved to the site of the roughly half-mile project.

The project is scheduled to be completed this summer. "In short, all the major construction activities will be finished and the connection functional for public use by July 24," Vidal said.

Simply put, the project is designed to redirect traffic now being funneled from Wilsonville Road onto Springbrook Road, back to Highway 219 south of the Newberg-Dundee bypass near Wynooski Street.

ODOT's original design was to connect Wilsonville Road directly to the eastern terminus of the bypass, but threats of litigation from a homeowner's association fearing increased traffic on that road forced the state agency to funnel traffic from Wilsonville Road to Springbrook Road until a realignment could be completed. The compromise has often led to traffic snarls near the intersection of the two roads, including a rash of illegal u-turns by motorists attempting to travel south on Highway 219 but who are thwarted by barriers to left turns from Wilsonville Road to Springbrook Road.

The new design will see Wilsonville Road now take a sharp left turn about a quarter-mile east of Highway 219 onto a section of Adolph Road, then sweep around to the west to connect to the highway a few hundred yards south of Wynooski Road.

The purpose of the project is twofold: improve traffic flow from Wilsonville Road onto the highway and pave the way for the next phase of the bypass, which will extend the byway from its eastern terminus at Highway 219 to the base of Rex Hill on Highway 99W.

"Wisonville Road has to be relocated to allow for the next construction phase of the Newberg-Dundee bypass," Alvin Shoblom, the former ODOT Region 2 project manager, said in December.

Actual construction is estimated to run about $1.6 million, not including right-of-way purchases and design of the project. The overall figure is closer to $7 million, ODOT officials have said. Funding for the project came from the Jobs and Transportation Act, passed by the Legislature in 2009, which partially funded construction of the first phase of the bypass.

Eight property owners and one tenant sold right-of-way to the state to pave the way for the project. Most of the land in the path of the Wilsonville Road realignment was used for farming, according to maps provided by ODOT.

The next step of the bypass, Phase 2, is in development stage. Funding leftover from Phase 1 of the bypass, estimated to be between $12 million and $18 million, is being used for purchase of right-of-way on the project, which will connect Highway 219 with Highway 99W near the base of Rex Hill. That project is estimated to cost roughly $115 million. The Legislature has so far produced $22 million for construction of the second phase.

Shoblom said design of Phase 2 of the bypass "will only be taken to the first design stage known as DAP (Design Acceptance Package) because there are no construction funds allocated for Phase 2 at this time," he said. "Once full or partial funding is provided the design phase will continue on."

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