A new bridge and new sidewalks, plus old roads that will look and feel new.
Union County residents will soon be benefiting from all three thanks to the efforts of city, county and state road workers who are beginning or are set to start major summer projects.
The work will include the replacement of an aging bridge north of Union, the installation of sidewalks in Cove, Elgin and Union and the repaving of roads.
The following are some of the projects cities, the Union County Public Works Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation will be taking on this summer.
Students in Elgin will soon be enjoying a safer place to walk. A six-block sidewalk on 14th Street will be installed from Elgin High School to Tollgate Highway to boost student safety. The new sidewalk will connect walkers at Tollgate Highway with one that will take them to Stella Mayfield, four blocks to the east, said City of Elgin Public Works Director Brock Eckstein. Presently there are no sidewalks in this area.
“It is a big problem because there is a lot of foot traffic (between the high school and grade school),” he said. “The sidewalk will keep kids off the road.”
Eckstein explained that many high school students walk to Stella Mayfield for lunch because that is where the school district’s cafeteria is.
Work on the sidewalks will start in June, and Eckstein hopes the work will be completed before Cycle Oregon comes to Elgin in September. About 2,000 cyclists are expected to stay for portions of Sept. 11 and 12 because the community has been designated as the stopping point for Day 4 of this year’s 383-mile Cycle Oregon tour.
The sidewalk work will cost about $100,000. Half of the cost will be paid for by a state grant and the other half by the City of Elgin.
The City of Cove will be adding a combination bike path and sidewalk to make it easier for students to get safely to school, said City Councilor Regina Kruse.
The sidewalk-bike path will start at Conklin Lane and go down the south side of Haefer Lane to Cove Elementary School. The sidewalk-bike path will be a little less than a quarter-mile long and wide enough to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.
The building of the sidewalk-bike path will start June 18 and should be completed by July 12. Its cost will be covered by a state grant, Kruse said.
The City of Imbler will receive street repaving work this summer, said Mayor Mike McLean. The work will be paid for with a $50,000 state grant.
McLean said it has not been determined which roads will be repaved. He said Railroad Street in east Imbler is among the candidates for repaving because of its declining condition.
McLean said that if the cost of repaving the selected streets does not exceed $50,000, the remaining funds will be used for additional street work.
The City of Island City will be doing chip sealing and restoration work on Walton Road and McAlister Road starting in early June, said Mayor Delmer Hanson.
The work will commence after the La Grande School District’s summer break begins, to avoid disrupting school buses and parents driving to Island City Elementary to pick up and drop off their children, Hanson said. Island City Elementary is part of the La Grande School District.
Street reconstruction work will be the focus of road work crews this summer in La Grande.
Reconstruction will be conducted on Fifth Street from N to L avenues, on Penn Avenue from Fourth to Third streets, and on J Avenue from 12th to 14th streets, said City of La Grande Street Superintendent Ray Crapo.
The reconstruction work will involve tearing out the bases of streets and replacing them. Each new foundation will be composed of soil stabilization fabric and new base rock. Once the new base is in, new asphalt will be paved over it.
Crapo said the new bases are needed because the current bases don’t support the weight of vehicles well, which makes the streets vulnerable to damage.
Handicapped accessible curbs will be installed at all intersections where street reconstruction work will be conducted. The reconstruction work will be paid for with money from the City of La Grande’s street user fee.
The City of La Grande will also be doing chip sealing work this summer. A chip seal is the application of a special protective wearing surface to an existing pavement, according to the Washington Department of Transportation’s website.
Roadways to be chip sealed in La Grande are Fourth Street from Penn Avenue to K Avenue, Fir Street from the railroad tracks to Y Avenue, and Y Avenue from Spruce Street to Fir Street. The chip seal work will be funded with money from the state’s gas tax.
North Powder will be the site of extensive chip sealing work, according to City Recorder Beth Wendt.
The work will be done on Third and Fourth streets between B and Center streets; on F and D streets from Fourth to just beyond Fifth Street; on A, B, C and Center streets from Second Street to First Street; on Fifth Street from G Street to Interstate 84; and on F Street for half a block off Second Street.
Prep work for the chip seal work will start in the next two weeks, Wendt said. At each chip seal site, the prep work will take one to two days. The actual chip seal work will last two to three days beyond that.
The work will be done by Union County crews contracted by the City of North Powder.
“We do not have the equipment needed to do the work,” Wendt said.
The work will be paid for with a $50,000 state grant.
Some crack sealing work will be done on roads and the shoulders of roads will be refurbished this summer, said Summerville Mayor Sheri Rogers.
The refurbishing of road shoulders will involve adding gravel to them. Rogers said that adding gravel to the shoulder protects the edge of street pavement, preventing it from breaking off.
Road paving and repaving work and the installation of sidewalks are scheduled for this summer in Union. The paving work has already begun.
Repaving work was completed on Fir Street earlier this month, and on Thursday the paving of Fourth Street from Dearborn to Grande streets was finished, according to Union City Administrator Doug Wiggins.
The repaving of Beakman Street from Main to First streets, and on First Street from Beakman to Arch streets, will begin next week.
Next month, the installation of sidewalks at and near Union’s grade school and high school will begin.
Sidewalks will be installed on Fulton Street between Main and Third streets; on Third Street between Fulton and Dearborn streets, and on First Street between Center and Dearborn streets.
The City of Union will pay for the installation of the sidewalks with a federal Safety Routes to Schools grant of between $650,000 and $700,000. Wiggins said the purpose of the sidewalks is to allow students to be more secure when walking to school.
“We are hoping that a substantial portion of the sidewalk work can be completed before school starts (in late August),” Wiggins said.
Major projects set for this summer in Union County include replacing a bridge on High Valley Road north of Union. The bridge has exceeded the life span it was designed for and its condition has declined to the point that there is a weight limitation now in place for vehicles going over it, said Union County Public Works Director Doug Wright.
The bridge work will begin after all of the environmental permits needed for the project are received. Wright anticipates that the work will probably start in late August and be completed by October.
Extensive chip seal is also on Union County’s summer docket. Chip seal work will be done on Booth Lane from Mt. Glen Road to Peach Road, and on Foothill Road south of La Grande, which is about seven miles long. Union County’s plans also call for patch repair work to be conducted on Foothill Road.
All of the summer road projects will be paid for with Union County funds.
Oregon Department of Transportation
Large projects the Oregon Department of Transportation will be taking on this summer will include the
repair of the Wolf Creek Bridge, two miles north of North Powder just off of Interstate 84. Work on the bridge has already begun and is expected to be finished by December, according to an ODOT press release. The work will cause some minor traffic delays.
Two other ODOT projects in Union County will involve chip seal work on Highway 82 between Elgin and Minam and on Highway 237 between Union and North Powder. At both sites there will be lane closures, flaggers at night and during the day, pilot cars and loose rock on the roadway. Drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes.