The Oregon Department of Transportation is currently in the design phase of a $9 million project to fully repave and reconstruct Highway 99E between Pine Street and Berg Parkway in Canby — essentially from Canby Builders Supply to the Wild Hare Saloon.
The project is also intended to provide pedestrian upgrades and some aesthetic refreshments to one part of town that sorely needs it, with new signs, signal loops, pedestrian push buttons and reconstructed sidewalks and curb ramps.
ODOT says these improvements will remove ruts and damage from vehicles, and increase safety and accessibility.
The project is scheduled to go to bid in September 2021, according to ODOT regional spokeswoman Katelyn Jackson.
“Construction will likely occur in 2022,” she told the Canby Now Podcast in an email, adding that the schedule has not been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some ODOT projects will be impacted from financial losses stemming from the pandemic, however. The State Highway Fund is facing an estimated loss of $170 million due to the coronavirus-related economic downturn in the 2020-21 biennium.
Because the state’s projected economic recovery will extend into 2024, losses are expected to total as much as $250 million in lost revenue from 2020 to 2024, when compared to the October 2019 forecast. This amount is split between cities, counties and ODOT, so the impact will be felt statewide.
Most road projects, though, are paid for with federal dollars and with money allocated by the Legislature to specific projects, so it can’t be used for anything else without a legislative change.
The Highway 99E repaving and redesign, for example, has been on the books for several years already.
Once known as the Great Pacific Highway and even the “Road of a Thousand Wonders,” Highway 99E is a vital part of the region’s transportation system and Canby itself, dividing the community neatly in two and serving as a major touchpoint in its history.
It brings thousands of cars and trucks through Canby every day, connecting the city with its neighbors and the wider world. But its deteriorating quality is a source of near-constant complaints, and though it boasts several historic buildings and a certain blue-collar charm, it has not graced the cover of many tourism brochures.
Even a downtown consultant who studied the community last year admitted Highway 99E is “not a great road,” and suggested it may deter potential visitors.
Photo copyright Scott Lothes. Used with permission.
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