The Basalt Creek Parkway extension project is viewed by Washington County and the City of Wilsonville as a necessary transportation improvement to make room for industrial expansion in the Wilsonville, Sherwood and Tualatin area.
More locally, the project also could prevent a couple Wilsonville roads from exceeding accepted capacity, according to the City and County. However, it's not yet clear when the second phase of the project will break ground.
After completing most of the first phase, which extended Basalt Creek Parkway (124th Avenue) from Tualatin-Sherwood Road in Tualatin to Grahams Ferry Road in Wilsonville earlier this year, Washington County is in the midst of design work for the second phase, which will extend the parkway from Grahams Ferry Road to Boones Ferry Road.
The roadway will have five lanes and bicycle and pedestrian access.
One of the benefits of the project, Washington County Principal Engineer Russell Knoebel said, is that it will ease congestion on Day Road and Grahams Ferry Road. Both of these roads are projected to no longer meet traffic standards by 2023.
"Traffic modeling that's done on these show that by 2023 those roads would be at capacity without this facility in place," Knoebel said.
The second phase of the roadway is estimated to cost $32 million and Knoebel wasn't sure exactly what funding source will be available. The County expects construction to begin by 2022, but that timeline could be pushed back if funding isn't obtained.
City of Wilsonville Planning Director Miranda Bateschell said the City also plans to improve certain sections of Day Road and Grahams Ferry Road, including adding lanes. The Day Road City project would likely come first and is still a few years away.
"I think the City is generally concerned about potential traffic impacts for our community and consistently strives to plan for ensuring there is adequate capacity and mitigate (impacts) as much as possible," Bateschell said.
The primary impetus for the project may be to provide a more direct route for freight traffic, which will be important as the nearby Basalt Creek and Coffee Creek industrial areas are developed. Currently, freight traffic travels on Day Road and Grahams Ferry Road to get to Boones Ferry Road.
"It's (Basalt Creek Parkway) going to be the arterial that gets the majority of people in and out of that area and the freight route for people trying to get over to Interstate 5," Knoebel said.
Washington County recently chose a preferred alignment for the project and Knoebel said the alignment, which is the straightest path, was the least costly choice.
"Two of the options had a bridge crossing that was about 800 feet long whereas (the preferred) alignment had a little over a 700-foot-long bridge. The difference between those bridges is over $2 million," he said.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners ultimately will select the alignment and the County will perform an environmental assessment after that. Knoebel said the design will be completed by 2021.
After the second phase is complete, Knoebel said a project to extend the roadway over I-5 could be an option if the Stafford Basin area near West Linn gets placed into the urban growth boundary. However, that project likely wouldn't begin for another 20 years, Knoebel said.
"It's a sensitive issue because over on that side they don't want to develop and they may never," he said.
The initial phase of the project from Tualatin-Sherwood Road to Grahams Ferry Road soon will be upgraded from two to five lanes. And Knoebel said the new roadway has eased traffic a bit on Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Tonquin Road, but that they both are still often congested.
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