By Sierra Lauder, Director of Events and Downtown Development, Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce
Great news! Paving has been going as smoothly and quickly as one could hope! The schedule with the detours and traffic control measures that Chief Wright relayed last week have gone according to plan, and all signs point to the last two nights following the same track.
A reminder of what lies in store this evening and tomorrow:
Wednesday Night, June 20th, the plan is to top lift and be done with Front Street and everything north of Pacific on North Main, both northbound and southbound. There will be detour if needed otherwise just flagging and one lane traffic.
We will also be out setting up all the signs and detour resources for the June Dairy Parade (which takes place on Saturday the 23rd), so please be extra careful driving through downtown this day.
Thursday Night, June 21st, First Street from Madrona to Main will be closed again for final paving and any other work in the area. The same detour as Monday will occur. (Depending on where the paving equipment is, you may be detoured onto Front Street and then west or south. In addition, First Street will be closed starting at 7 PM, from Madrona Avenue to Pacific. Madrona will be one way from First Street to Third Street. Detour for First Street will be Madrona to Fourth then Fourth to Pacific or Main.)
If you find yourself driving through the area, you can already see how much wider the road area is and appreciate the return of a turn lane in to Rosenberg’s.
If you happened to be sitting in the southbound line of traffic last night (6/19) at about 6:45 pm and witnessed the gentleman who spent ten minutes or so laying steadily on his horn and shouting obscenities at folks who were zipper merging- I feel your pain. Despite that particular gentleman’s passion for his perspective, zipper merging is STILL the right thing to do — take advantage of all of the lane capacity available, and minimize the backup in this (and) all construction areas.
You can start to see the temporary “sticky stomp” reflective squares that are being laid out and used to delineate the lanes while the asphalt cures before final paving can go down in a couple of weeks. The temporary layout of the lanes with the sticky stomps will allow for more lanes and less bottle necking, which is wonderful, but will also require us to be paying lots of attention as we adjust to the wider traffic pattern.
Downtown, on Main between First and Third, construction activity is bustling. The work window has been condensed in to early in the day (as early as 5:30 some mornings) to 3PM, Monday through Thursday, to minimize lane closures and traffic interruptions during peak times during our peak traffic season. This week there are crews grading, forming, and pouring sidewalks between First and Second on Main, fiber-optic trenching between Second and Third, and prep for curb and gutter on that same block. The sidewalk on the corner of Third and Main in front of the Tora Sushi Lounge is ready for their Thursday Grand Opening, and the electrical contractor is optimistic that the pedestrian crossing pole will be live in time for that evening, so if you find yourself parking on Pacific or visiting other downtown businesses it will be an easy crossing from Sunflower Flats to the sushi destination.
Let me take a moment here to encourage you to reach out if you have any questions about the project that I may have not covered in awhile or missed along the way. Over the last week, I’ve had a few people ask about the old Shell Station property, which we haven’t talked about in a few months. Each week the Chamber has a “Chamber Chatter” feature that we send out to local media and include in our newsletter, and I’ll be telling a longer version of this story in that article. The “Cliff Notes” version is: the tanks have been removed and there is some monitoring that has to go on before the final DEQ clearance. ODOT will hold the property through the end of the project, and then there is a protocol for the disposition process that looks for agencies and municipalities that might like to purchase it, or it could also go up for sale to the public, so a private buyer could purchase it. The temporary construction trailer that is placed there will be removed (likely in the fairly near future), but the Shell structure will remain in place until the parcel changes hands and the new owner takes steps to determine if they will repurpose it or remove it. The timeline for transitioning the property is unknown; ODOT will not begin the disposition process until the “no further action” clearance is received from DEQ and the project itself is completed, and then, as with any property sale, it is an unknown how long it will take for a buyer to come forward and take over. The City of Tillamook is following the process, and there is dialog about what it might look like if the parcel came in to City possession, but there are no specific plans at this time.
Enjoy this beautiful weather and be safe.