Quiet Zone, Gateway Arch Await Go-Ahead from ODOT

The city’s Downtown Quiet Zone and Gateway Arch project has encountered similar challenges to the ones experienced by the effort to build the city’s first splash pad, but is moving forward.

The two projects have been linked because both are funded by urban renewal dollars, have similar timelines and are aimed at downtown revitalization. Plus, aligning their construction timelines means the Grant Street intersection would have to be closed only once — not twice.

Like the splash pad, construction was originally expected to start in June, but is still awaiting the go-ahead from the Oregon Department of Transportation. Their order should have been delivered within no more than 30 days — but has taken four months so far.

The city also needs a signed construction and maintenance agreement from Union Pacific Railroad, which allows the contractor to work within the railroad’s right-of-way.

Zeiber said they received one bid for the project and are working with the contractor. They hope to have an agreement to present to the Canby City Council, in their role as the Urban Renewal Agency, by mid-July.

The long-debated and oft-maligned quiet zone project would make it so train engineers are no longer required to sound their horns at the three intersections in downtown Canby: Elm, Grant and Ivy. They would still sound the horn if a car or pedestrian were in the crossing, or to alert people of other emergency situations.

The quiet zone improvements will start at the Elm Street intersection, followed by Ivy and Grant. The work on Grant Street will likely take the longest, since it will also involve construction of the downtown gateway arch.

The quiet zone designation, which had to be approved by Union Pacific Railroad and other authorities, comes part and parcel with a number of safety improvements at the three intersections, such as concrete medians designed to prevent cars from driving around the arms of the railroad gates.

The quiet zone has been a topic of discussion for years, maybe even decades — exactly how long depends on who you ask — but the city’s current leadership has been pressing the issue since at least September of 2018, when they approved an engineering contract for the first round of safety improvements to make the quiet zone possible.

The arch was initially pitched as one part of the city’s plan for economic revitalization, an enticing tool to draw folks off of Highway 99E and into the heart of historic downtown Canby, and that will certainly be needed in the months ahead.

The monument will come equipped with color-changing LED lighting to spotlight the pillars, arch and “Canby” sign while shining twin beacons into the sky. It was designed by Scott|Edwards Architecture and inspired by the existing downtown Canby architecture as well as the iconic Encinitas Archway in California.

Construction estimates for the projects are $1.4 million for the quiet zone improvements and $400,000 for the arch.

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