Ribbon cut for future opening of the 124th Avenue extension
Despite a chilly and foggy morning, scads of city and county officials descended on a ribbon-cutting dedication Tuesday morning to dedicate the substantial completion of the 124th Avenue extension.
The event marked the completion of the 1.8-mile extension from Tualatin-Sherwood Road to Tonquin Road, a 10-years-in-the-making project.
Spoiler alert: The $24 million road extension won't officially open to traffic until early in 2019.
The ribbon cutting also highlighted the completion of the largest section of the Willamette Water Supply's 30-mile pipeline, which will eventually transmit water from the Willamette River in Wilsonville to Hillsboro.
Leading off comments on the roadway's completion was Washington County Commission Chairman Andy Duyck.
"We look at this road and see the future," Duyck said of the thoroughfare that's expected to relieve some of the heavy congestion along Tualatin-Sherwood Road. "My own delivery truck takes this very road every day."
He praised it as a combined effort between Washington County along with the cities of Tualatin, Sherwood and Wilsonville.
Duyck said installing the Willamette Water Supply pipeline at the same time as roadway construction saved taxpayers and ratepayers money in the long run, something further highlighted by water board officials.
"By working together, we're saving our residents millions of dollars," said Bernice Bagnall, Tualatin Valley Water District Board of Commissioners chairwoman, who called the road and pipeline project "government coordination at its best." "We look forward to a long and productive relationship."
Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers praised the project as well recalling that 35 years ago when he was mayor of Tualatin there was talk of trying to get motorists from Boones Ferry Road to Highway 99W, something that has now come to fruition. He said he recalls cutting the ribbon on Tualatin's Martinazzi Avenue at the time, noting that a once not-so-highly traveled road now sees thousands of cars daily. Rogers said he won't be around to see how the 124th Avenue extension plays out but thanked all those who helped make the road a reality.
At that point, Tualain Lou Ogden, not a scheduled speaker, grabbed the microphone to talked about how Rogers needed to be given credit for the roadway. Ogden said he fought for the last 26 years to make the completed 124th Avenue – which on the Tualatin portion of the roadway was built incrementally – a priority of his tenure, pointing out in the end it was Washington County and Roy Rogers who helped make the project a reality.
"This is the fruition of what we've been trying to do…for 40 years," Ogden later said, noting that it was the result of failed attempts to build a so-called westside bypass years ago and also plans to construct an I-5/Highway 99W connector.
The 124th extension will eventually be widened to a five-lane roadway as development occurs, according to county officials.
"We project that soon after opening, we will see about 11,500 vehicles a day on 124th Avenue," said Melissa De Lyser, a Washington County public affairs and communication manager. "That number is expected to increase to 18,300 vehicles a day by 2035." De Lyser said the $33 million total pricetag for both the roadway and water pipeline means the project came in under its proposed $41 million budget.
Meanwhile, Sherwood City Manager Joe Gall said there is already interest in plans to begin construction on the Tonquin Employment Area on city-owned parcels of land on the west side of the 124th Avenue extension. He said Tramell Crow has purchased 90 acres of property in an area designed for light industrial construction.
Gall said the city was excited about the new important transportation link opening up, pointing out he's confident that it will lead to more jobs within Sherwood, which is an important goal of the Sherwood City Council.