A multimillion-dollar project to transform a stretch of Highway 99W through Dundee is nigh.
Kerr Contractors Oregon, one of seven bidders on the $15 million project, was awarded the contract, Lou Torres, a public information officer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said in an email last week.
A date for when crews will begin their work remains nebulous.
"(We) still have to meet with the contractor to confirm the start date," Torres said. "Utility crews are currently on the ground now moving their equipment/utility lines in preparation for construction. Once the utility work is complete, major construction will begin, likely during late winter, early spring."
The design for the project is complete and calls for a major overhaul of the state highway from First Street to Parks Drive, including new pavement, sidewalks and streetlights, among other accoutrements.
The project has been a long time coming.
"We are not positive on how long it has been in the works," Torres said. "We heard that initial discussions may have started as far back as 2005. It was initially included as a local project in the 2013 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)."
Delays in construction of the Newberg-Dundee bypass, which opened in December 2017, undoubtedly slowed plans for the Dundee project.
"Initially, we wanted to complete Phase 1 of the Newberg-Dundee bypass so it would provide an easy alternative route for travelers who wanted to avoid construction on OR 99W through Dundee," Torres said. "However, it wasn't the only reason for the delay. The scope of the project expanded considerably as we understood that there was much more work that was needed. This was not just a simple paving project. The additional work also prompted more requirements, such as finding significantly more funding to complete the project and the time required to do the work. In addition, the city of Dundee had work that it needed to do, as this was a project we were working on together."
Torres acknowledged the delays in completing the project and requested patience from Dundee residents.
"We sincerely apologize for the delays on this project," Torres said. "What I can say is that the final work will be almost transformative for downtown Dundee in look, appearance and aesthetics. OR 99W through Dundee is going to be much more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, and motorists are going to enjoy a much smoother drive."
The design of the project, expected to continue through 2022, is ambitious.
"A portion of the road will require a full depth rebuild where we will need to dig out and replace the road foundation," a press release from ODOT said. "The entire project area will get new pavement."
In addition, ADA ramps will be constructed, sidewalks installed, pedestrian crossings will see improvement, streetlights will be converted to LED, drainages will be replaced and improved, water treatment areas will be landscaped, stormwater improvements will be undertaken and crews will "streetscape" throughout the project area.
Also, the city's main water pipe will be relocated.
"This work will result in a temporary interruption of water service," the release said. "We will not know the duration and timing of this interruption until after the project starts. Advanced notice will be given to the residents and businesses that will be impacted."
Some utility conduits will be relocated and located underground, which also may temporarily disrupt services as the project progresses.
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