Newport city officials rolled out the latest designs for upgraded crosswalks on Highway 101 from Abbey north to NW 15th. Not only will the crosswalks have those big fat white horizontal lines painted on the pavement, five of them will have pedestrian islands in the middle of the road so that pedestrians can “work their way across” all four or five lanes rather than having to wait for breaks in both directions at the same time. Pedestrian refuge islands will be installed at Abbey, Bayley, 3rd, 10th and 15th. Bull Nose sidewalks (gives pedestrians a head start) will be installed at 101 intersections with Lee, Alder and Angle – at Angle with LED flashing lights.
Public Works Director Tim Gross said that most everyone who came to the crosswalk open house at city hall seemed to be okay with the arrangement. Some said “it’s not perfect, but it’ll work much better than what we have now.” Gross also mentioned that many people would prefer to have flashing LED signs for pedestrians at every crosswalk. “We don’t have the money except for one site – Angle and 101,” he said. “But once the project is up and functioning, it’ll be a lot easier to win grant awards from a number of agencies to help get LED pedestrian warning signs at all crosswalks from Bayley to NW 15th.”
Gross said the design of the crosswalks took far more time than he expected – but that’s ODOT’s call since they’re the ones footing 90% of the total cost – $640,000. That’s about $140,000 more than was budgeted. Gross said “If we’re to complete the project as planned, ODOT’s going to have to come up with the extra money because the city doesn’t have it.” He added that ODOT spent a lot of time designing the project, chewing up many, many hours of labor to create. And it burned up a lot of money in the process.
Having said all that Gross predicted that the project will go out to bid sometime in March with workers finishing up by July.