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'Permanent repair will likely be costly,' Multnomah County official says of Sauvie Island road

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY - Construction crews make temporary repairs to the collapsed section on the east side of Northwest Reeder Road in early January.Nearly a month after the edge of Northwest Reeder Road on Sauvie Island collapsed, the rural road is still down to one lane for part of its length.

Two culverts that carry Dairy Creek under the road on the east side of Sauvie Island failed in early January, resulting in sinkholes on the east side of the road. Multnomah County closed one lane while a contractor completed a temporary repair. 

The lane briefly reopened, but engineers then determined that there was a risk of the west side of the road collapsing. A short section of the road is now only one lane, meaning drivers have to yield to oncoming traffic that enters the single-lane section first.

Traffic on the road is light during the winter months. Multnomah County spokesperson Mike Pullen estimated only 30 or so homes are located north of the road.

However, Reeder Road is the only road leading to Sauvie Island's popular beaches on the Columbia River, meaning traffic will increase dramatically when temperatures rise.

"The permanent repair will likely be costly and require either a bridge or an open bottom culvert, replacing the failed pipe culverts," Pullen said.

"One option we will explore is doing more temporary repairs this spring that could allow us to open the second traffic lane. That would improve safety as the road sees more traffic this summer and will buy us time as we work to design and secure funds for the permanent repair," Pullen said.

Multnomah County's design consultant, Parametrix, is developing options for a permanent repair, but the county did not have cost estimates or a construction timeline as of Monday, Jan. 31.

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