These changes to the busy street are welcome to some in the area, but not to some others...

DAVID F. ASHTON - Drivers in the Lents Town Center area of outer East Portland are already experiencing construction detours as the Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project gets underway. Construction work is already bringing changes to S.E. Foster Road, from 50th Avenue to the western edge of the Lents Town Center at S.E. 91st Avenue.

The project that's underway this summer actually began in 2012. That's when a stakeholder advisory committee called the "Foster Corridor Investment Strategy" was founded, which began discussing revitalizing retail business along the street and increasing pedestrian safety.

Over time, it became the "Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project"; but it sat fallow while the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and allied agencies worked to collect resources for what has become a $9 million project.

In early July of this year, work began on this well-used thoroughfare as contractors ground off lane markings and restriped the pavement, narrowing Foster Road from two traffic lanes in each direction to a single driving lane each way for cars and trucks, with a turn lane in the middle.

But the heavy construction work this summer got underway east of S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses, as contractors began digging out pavement down to the roadbed, rerouting utilities, repaving, and widening sidewalks in the Lents Town Center area between S.E. 89th Avenue and 84th/Ellis Street. This project will continue through September.

According to PBOT Media Contact John Brady, by this fall S.E. Foster Road will have these improvements:

· New, upgraded traffic signals at S.E. Holgate at 72nd Avenue.

· New median refuge islands with rapid-flash beacons at six locations: S.E. 58th, S.E. Mall, and S.E. 65th, 69th, 74th, and 84th Avenues.

· New center turn lane and bicycle lanes from S.E. 52nd to 90th Avenues.

· New street trees and ornamental street lighting.

· Upgraded ADA curb ramps at 69 locations.

"The changes to the street and urban design will transform Foster Road from a high-speed, auto-oriented corridor into a more balanced streetscape that's safer and more accessible for people walking, biking, taking public transit, and driving," Brady assured.

So, use caution as you drive through work zones, and observe the posted speed limits in the construction area as you motor along S.E. Foster Road this summer and fall.

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