It's hard not to notice the chunk of Cascade highway that has been under construction for more than six months. Highway 213 is going to have a full closure between March 22 and 27.
Thankfully the majority of Clackamas Community College students won't have to worry about changing their commute, as the road schedule falls on our spring break.
An Oregon City contractor will use the 104-hour closure to safely install a new sixlane bridge. If the road wasn't fully closed, this project would take over a year to complete. Although the road closure will be a hassle for motorists who use the road daily, in the long run the project seems very beneficial.
Nancy Kraushaar, Oregon City's city engineer and public works director said, "The dates were selected based on the contractors schedule and they just happen to fall on the spring break for CCC."
Kraushaar suggested that drivers try to see the positive impacts of the closure, but to prepare an alternate route for when the time comes.
Oregon City awarded the construction contract to Mowat Construction based on the company's expertise with complex bridge projects, past success completing extensive night-work projects on time and a competitive bid price. Mowat Construction's Jughandle Project team, based in Clackamas County, includes 34 employees and more than 10 specialty subcontractor firms.
Jason Kelly, resident engineer and lead structure designer for OBEC, an engineering consulting firm, is the manager of the project. He makes sure the job is done according to the design.
"Twelve crews have been working nights for the past six months in constructing the foundation and the bridge to install on the four day closure. We have been spending $500,000 to a million dollars a month on this project. We are on task and ahead of schedule and ready to install the bridge," said Kelly.
It is recommended that travelers from communities south of Oregon City bypass the city to avoid heavy traffic congestion. The city will assign an alternate route to I-5 during the four day closure of Highway 213.
Traveling to I-5 may be the fastest way for residents of Canby, Molalla and Mulino to reach destinations north and east of Oregon City. The assigned alternate route to I-5 will begin on Highway 213 in Liberal and direct motorists along Macksburg Road and other arterial roads to reach I-5 at exit 282 in Wilsonville. A map of the signed route to I-5 is available for downloading at www.jughandleproject. com/detour.html, along with maps of two assigned alternate routes between Highway 213 and I-205.
Susan Iwata, administrative assistant for the college advancement department, will be working at the college during the construction.
"We'll all take the closure in stride. It's only a few days, after all," said Iwata.