Highway 217 project calls for new Hall Boulevard overpass
The good news is that in 2023, Tigard motorists will likely be driving across a new Southwest Hall Boulevard overpass that spans Highway 217 between Southwest Pacific Highway, also known as Highway 99W, and Pfaffle Street.
The bad news is that overpass could be shut down six to seven months during that construction process, with Southwest Greenburg Road becoming the prime detour route.
However, that option would cost less and create fewer problems than the alternatives, Oregon Department of Transportation officials told the Tigard City Council during a Tuesday evening, Aug 20, work session.
Project manager Kelly Martin says construction is expected to begin in 2021 for the overpass that handles an estimated 10,000 vehicles each day, with completion likely in 2023.
Design teams have been looking over three options for replacement of the overpass but are planning to use what's known as Option 2, according to Matthew D. Freitag, ODOT Metro West area manager.
"It does allow us to do the most efficient construction method," said Freitag.
While that option would require a slightly longer complete closure than one of the other two options, it would reduce the number of Highway 217 closures required during overpass construction and save the state money, Freitag said. Estimated cost of the project, which will include pedestrian and bike lanes as well, will be $7.1 million.
Hall Boulevard crosses over Highway 217 twice — once in Beaverton, between Southwest Cascade Avenue and Scholls Ferry Road on the way to Washington Square Mall, and once in Tigard, linking the Metzger area to Highway 99W and downtown Tigard.
The ODOT project regards the latter crossing in Tigard. However, it could include new sidewalks and bike lanes for the former stretch of road, depending on what money is available.
At the same time, property owners along Highway 217 between Hall Boulevard and Greenburg Road will get a chance to vote on whether they want ODOT to install sound walls to mitigate the effects of highway traffic.
The Hall Boulevard overpass reconstruction is only a portion of a massive $100 million overhaul of Highway 217. The major work and focal point is creating auxiliary lanes spanning from Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway to Highway 99W.
Those lanes are expected to keep slower vehicles along that four-mile stretch of Highway 217 from entering the faster lanes, ideally preventing bottlenecks, according to ODOT officials. Hopes too are there will be fewer accidents since the auxiliary lanes are expected to reduce weaving and merging.
Included in the funding for that span of roadway is $10 million set aside for bike and pedestrian improvements, said Martin.
Other major elements of the project are slated as well. Since ODOT officials say the worst bottlenecks occur at the interchanges at Southwest Allen Boulevard and Denney Road, plans are to build a southbound frontage road paralleling Highway 217 from Allen to Denney.
That would mean that southbound drivers wanting to get onto Denney Road would have to take the Highway 217 Allen Boulevard off-ramp, since the Denney Road off-ramp will be removed.
In addition, plans are to widen three ramps — including the southbound Denney Road on-ramp, the northbound Scholls Ferry Road off-ramp and the northbound Pacific Highway off-ramp.
Meanwhile, northbound travelers on Highway 217 haven't been forgotten, with a new northbound auxiliary lane planned to connect Highway 99W to Greenburg Road.
A second auxiliary lane will continue past Highway 99W and travel all the way to Scholls Ferry Road, allowing drivers to cross multiple interchanges without merging into the main traffic of Highway 217.?
By Ray Pitz
Reporter, The Times
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