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Work could be completed several months ahead of schedule, ODOT and contractor say

PMG FILE PHOTO - Work continues on a major project to rebuild a stretch of Highway 99W through Dundee.

For months, a stretch of Highway 99W running through Dundee has been torn up, blocked off, replaced and refurbished as part of a $15 million project initiated by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Traffic often has been slowed by the project and the noise has led to occasional complaints from local residents and business owners.

Now it appears the project is heading rapidly toward a conclusion. According to ODOT and Kerr Contractors, work could be completed as early as October.

"They've been on the project since the early part of this year," said Vidal Francis, resident engineer for ODOT on the project. "Right now the contractor is on schedule and they're actually on track to be ahead of schedule. Their plan is to complete all work by the end of the summer toward early fall. As we go into next year, we will just be making sure everything is fully functional and operational for the city of Dundee.

"We're hoping to get everything buttoned up by (October) and follow up with some planting establishment work heading into next year. Anything that needs to be adjusted going into and through the winter, my contractor will do that," he said.

One of the primary challenges of the project, Francis said, has been traffic control and accommodating the needs of local residents and businesses. The goal has been to do as much work during the day as possible, then leave some of the bigger pieces for night when there is less traffic. During that time, Francis said workers have been mindful of the noise that may come with a project like that, and how it impacts a small town like Dundee.

Kerr Contractors, Francis said, has been a strong partner in this endeavor.

"They've been very accommodable with us," he said. "I've approached them on multiple occasions to make some adjustments on what we're doing and how we're proceeding, and they've done a great job. They've been exceptional trying to make those accommodations so we minimize the disruption to local residents and their businesses in the area."

The project consists of completely rebuilding a long section of the roadway, including installing a new road bed and repaving the highway. ADA ramps will be constructed, new sidewalks will be installed, pedestrian crossings will be improved, new street lights are planned and the project will feature enhanced drainage and water treatment areas.

The work has required plenty of communication with local partners to get done in an orderly manner, and with residents' needs in mind. Francis said he looks forward to the project's completion so the ancillary work can begin.

"I want to thank everyone, in particular the city of Dundee and their staff, for acknowledging all the nuances of what we have to do here," Francis said. "We're going through a full rebuild and ran into a lot of things that need to be constructed around. We also are thankful for the patience of residents. We've had a couple complaints, but for the most part we are trying to work with them and address their concerns throughout the process."


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