By Sierra Lauder, Director of Events and Downtown Development, Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce
The big news this week is the disruption of the smooth sailing we’ve been predicting on the block of Main between Third and Fourth. South of the entrance to Diamond Art Jewelry a large underground oil tank was discovered. The tank sits approximately fourteen feet underground, and still holds a small amount of oil. An environmental specialist has come out to draw a sample, and once results from that sample are in, the tank will be vacuumed out to allow for an inspection of the tank itself. That inspection will inform the next steps of how to address the issue. This is a great time to cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Despite that setback, progress continues to leap forward in other areas of the project. This week will include the pouring of sidewalks in front of Sunflower Flats in anticipation of a reconfiguration of pedestrian traffic in that area next week. Crews are ready to dive in and address two more vaults on Main (one in front of Pacific Restaurant, and the other between Tangled Yarns and Everything Pets). Compared to the massive vault on the corner, these two will be fairly small and straightforward- requiring reinforcing and new doors. Sunflower Flats is not quite out of the construction zone though- also Monday, crews will wrap around the corner and begin a similar reinforcement and new door for the Third Street access to the large basement under the Sunflower Flats/Tillamook Apartments building.
The final pours for the sidewalks that will reopen pedestrian access across the bridge should take place in the next two weeks, finally bringing an end to the need to shuttle back and forth through the area. The grading in front of the Pioneer Museum at the corner of First and Pacific is complete, and the radial concrete work there will be fill-in as the concrete crews move between other areas of the project.
Everything is on schedule for the demolition of the old bridge. The deck paneling in the center has been removed, and crews are now tearing out the diaphragms and girders. Once the center is completely removed, the same process will occur on the ends- deck first, then diaphragms and girders. By the end of next week the old bridge should be completely deconstructed.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the high water that rises quickly both on the south side of the bridge and along North Main just north of the bridge. Hitting either puddle can be extremely startling- both can get very deep fairly quickly. They are developing because the current height of the asphalt is about three inches lower than it will be at project completion. For obvious reasons, the curbing, gutters, and drainage have all been poured to accommodate the final road height, and the resulting gap that exists right now is creating the puddling. The faster you are going through the puddles, the more extreme they seem, so not only will you want to use extra caution regarding your own speed, you may want to note when other drivers are going fast through there and prepare for resulting splashing.
We have much to be thankful and joyous about this holiday season, despite the challenges presented to us during this time of growth. Thank you for continuing to follow along with the construction process and frequent the downtown businesses who are muddling through the thick of things. Small Business Saturday last weekend was a testament to shoppers’ ability to find parking; it was a busy day downtown and several businesses reported record numbers despite the construction. This coming weekend is the City of Tillamook’s holiday extravaganza- there will be festivities all afternoon in and around City Hall, including cookie decorating, live music, and pictures with Santa. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is set for 5:30, with the Tillamook Holiday Light Parade following shortly after. Hope to see you there!