The Oregon Department of Transportation will soon begin work on what it hopes will significantly reduce bottlenecks along Highway 217 between Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale and Pacific highways.
The statewide road agency's plans include adding an auxiliary lane on Highway 217, going south from Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway (Highway 10) to Pacific Highway (Highway 99W), and a similar, shorter lane going north from Pacific Highway to Southwest Scholls Ferry Road (Highway 210).
"The interchanges at Allen Boulevard and Denney Road are some of the worst bottleneck locations," ODOT said in a statement explaining the scope of work. "This project will help everyone on Oregon 217 get where they need to go more safely and reliably."
The project also will create a frontage road for southbound drivers that will connect Southwest Allen Boulevard and Denney Road. ODOT officials say that decreasing the need to merge onto the highway will make it safer for motorists.
As a whole, Highway 217 contains 10 interchanges in its 7-mile length, creating the shortest merging space for any freeway in the region, according to ODOT.
The $158 million project also includes improvements to adjacent local roads. However, ODOT says there are no road closures planned around the Washington Square mall area during the holiday season.
Don Hamilton, an ODOT spokesman, said some staging of equipment may take place along the corridor starting by the end of the month but that motorists didn't need to worry about traffic disruptions until January.
The state agency says adding the auxiliary lanes is expected to decrease crashes along Highway 217 by 20% to 30%, according to state statistics.
Live Zoom webinars regarding the project are planned from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 15, and again on Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Visit ODOT.org for details.
Money for the Highway 217 renovation project comes primarily from Oregon House Bill 2017, generally referred to as the "Keep Oregon Moving" transportation package. Both Beaverton and Washington County are contributing to funding as well, much of which will go toward improvements to bicycle and pedestrian routes.
Estimates are that the safety improvements will save a total of 73,000 hours of travel time for motorists each year.
This story has been updated to reflect when traffic disruptions along Highway 217 could occur.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.