By Sierra Lauder, Director of Events and Downtown Development, Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce
The rain has returned with a vengeance this week, and much of the concrete and sidewalk work that will need to happen over the next few weeks will be at the mercy of the weather. As you drive through the project area you are sure to notice that curb, gutter and sidewalk crews are all over the place. In addition to big leaps forward in the radial work in front of the Pioneer Museum, the work continues on Main between Second and Third, and around the bioswale on Fourth and Main.
Excavation on First St between Pacific and Main in front of the Rodeo Steakhouse is one of the most striking new developments. Please note that the Rodeo is open regular hours throughout construction, and that access is available through their side door, which is on the west side (Main Street side) of the building, set back in their parking lot. A recent lunch there reminded me that I would cross any barrier for those spicy cheesy egg rolls…
Things are also moving efficiently on the bridge work. There are some big pours scheduled through the end of this week and in to next week, which will provide the base structure for the new bridge. This is exciting for progress, but also an easy way to get distracted as you’re driving through the area. Please be mindful of the stop and start traffic through the project area and stay safe.
For more information about the project, including conceptual drawings that help visualize the project in its entirety, you can check out the ODOT page: www.TillamookTraffic.org
FAQ’s about the project:
Why is the width of the sidewalks downtown being reduced?
In some areas the width of sidewalks will be reduced in order to increase the size of U.S. 101 travel lanes to meet the current ODOT standard of twelve feet. Currently the travel lanes in downtown Tillamook are only ten feet wide and there have been a relatively high number of low-speed crashes in downtown Tillamook that can be attributed to the narrow lanes. These accidents tend to involve large trucks and recreational vehicles side-swiping
parked cars. Some traffic congestion in downtown can also be attributed to the sub-standard lanes.
The environmental study phase of the project explored the tradeoffs associated with narrowing sidewalks in order to widen travel lanes. Downtown Tillamook is considered a Special Transportation Area because the highway goes through compact urban development. As such, ODOT guidelines prioritize local access needs over highway mobility. However, public feedback received during the environmental study indicated that it would be preferable to narrow the sidewalks and widen the travel lanes in order to improve the flow of traffic and reduce the number of vehicle conflicts. This trade-off was considered acceptable with regards to the STA guidelines because the existing 12-foot sidewalks are two feet wider than the minimum standard. Although the sidewalk width is being reduced, sidewalks will still meet ADA requirements.