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The repair schedule changed after high traffic to Sauvie Island beaches during a heat wave.

Editor's note: A Multnomah County spokesperson announced Wednesday afternoon, June 29, that repairs had been completed well ahead of schedule and the road is back open to two lanes. A temporary stoplight is scheduled to be removed Thursday, June 30. Paving work is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, with single lane closures alternating in either direction so the road can remain open to traffic. The original story follows below.

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Reeder Road on Sauvie Island does not see heavy traffic for much of the year, but the summer brings visitors to Sauvie Island beaches accessed via Reeder Road.Emergency repairs are beginning on Sauvie Island's Northwest Reeder Road on Wednesday, June 29.

A portion of the road has been reduced to one lane since earlier this year, when a culvert collapsed under the road.

Multnomah County planned to complete temporary repairs to the road this summer, but not until the in-water work window opened in mid-July.

But after Reeder Road saw heavy traffic from beach-goers seeking relief from the 90-plus-degree weather last weekend, the county opted to start repairs sooner.

Getting through the stoplight at the intersection took roughly 20 minutes last Saturday afternoon.

"Multnomah County has notified regulatory agencies of the need to perform these temporary emergency repairs outside of the in-water work window due to overcrowding and safety concerns last weekend," a June 28 press release stated. "Crews will be working long hours to get these emergency repairs done and the goal is to be able to reopen the road to two lanes by the end of the day on Friday, July 1."

The county closed Reeder Road north of Gillihan Road on Sunday afternoon "due to overcrowding as people head to the beaches to beat the heat," a county spokesperson announced.

On Monday, the county said it would continue to monitor overcrowding on Sauvie Island and "is working with its contractor and regulatory agencies to perform emergency work on the failed culverts outside of the regulatory in-water work window, to open both lanes to traffic as soon as possible."

Culverts are tubes used to allow water — in this case, Dairy Creek — to pass under roads. In-water work windows are designated periods when construction work poses the least risk to fish and wildlife.

The road will continue to be reduced to one lane during the emergency construction.

When the road reopens, the impacted lane will be compacted gravel instead of paved road.

"Due to the accelerated schedule, the contractor will be unable to pave the roadway prior to reopening the road on Friday afternoon," the Multnomah County press release stated. "County maintenance crews will monitor the condition of the road until asphalt work can be done."

In early June, before traffic picked up on the road, Multnomah County project manager Emily Miletich said the temporary repairs this summer could take six to eight weeks.

County spokesperson Sarah Hurwitz said the emergency closure would replace the planned six to eight week closure. That portion of the road will eventually be closed for a day for paving, but the county is still determining the date for that, Hurwitz said.

A full repair is planned for 2023.


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