Multnomah County maps out $1.4 billion plan for roads
Multnomah County has unfurled the roadmap for the next 20 years of disbursing cash on new transportation infrastructure.
Their newly-approved Roads Capital Improvement Plan includes some $1.4 billion in wish-list spending, though for the next five years the county admits it has lined up only $38 million from its coffers and grants.
"It's like a 900-year plan," said Transportation Division Director Ian Cannon, adding that the county generally outlays $2.5 million a year on capital roadwork. "The annual inflation on a billion dollars is probably $30 million, so we're not keeping up with inflation."
Of the 132 projects ranked by priority in the plan, 81 are to add sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks and other enhancements. The only project that would add car lanes is on Marine Drive from 223rd Avenue to Gresham's city limits.
Roughly 100 of the projects are located in East County, with the remainder on the west side, as Multnomah County does not own any roads in Portland or Gresham. Projects were prioritized using safety, sustainability, resiliency, equity and mobility lenses.
Outside the capital projects, Multnomah County expects needing $582 million for routine road maintenance. There's also some $1.5 billion on the bill for bridges, with $685 million of that for the earthquake-safety project that will either improve or replace the Burnside Bridge.
"If we had limitless resources, we would just tick them off one after another," said Jessica Berry, interim transportation manager. "But the reality is we respond to opportunities and we respond to emergencies."
The scope of county transportation infrastructure includes some 270 miles of roads, 1,700 culverts allowing water and fish to flow under roads, 46 pedestrian beacons, six bridges crossing the Willamette River, and 21 other bridges not crossing it.
A 360-degree camera mounted on a truck produced detailed LiDAR scans of each road, capturing data on sidewalk, driveway, curb and lane placement while using technology to see through the vegetation that usually hides the surrounding topography.
Multnomah County approved the 100-page plan by a 4-0 vote on Jan. 23.
Is a road closure coming to your neighborhood? Here are some of the Multnomah County road projects expected to start soon:
Northeast 238th Drive: Reconstruction will help semis make the trek up from Interstate 84 on this steeply-sloped road linking Halsey and Glisan streets. A bike lane and a second sidewalk will be added, for a total cost of $31.5 million.
Northwest Cornelius Pass Road: The most expensive project on the list — priced at $143 million — would widen the road, adding vehicle pullouts, a southbound passing lane, new guardrails and better culverts. But the county won't pick up the tab, as state lawmakers have ordered ODOT to assume ownership of the connector between Highway 30 and Skyline Boulevard.
Southeast 267th Avenue: It's not the road, but the culvert underneath that is targeted for replacement to improve fish passage along Johnson Creek. The cost is $1 million.
Southwest Scholls Ferry Road: While not currently a top priority, constituents are pushing hard for safety improvements, and Commissioner Sharon Meieran appears to be listening. Bike, pedestrian and stormwater upgrades are envisioned from Humphrey Boulevard, across Patton Road to the Washington County line, at a cost of $23 million.
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