WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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NAME those trains!

New Amtrak Trains Joining the Cascade Line

New Amtrak Trains
Joining the Cascade Line

ODOT workers to put new trains into service this summer.

ODOT workers to put new trains into service this summer.

New Amtrak passenger trains are heading toward the Pacific Northwest; public asked to name them

SALEM – The Oregon Department of Transportation invites the public to help name its two new trains arriving in the Pacific Northwest this month. As part of the Amtrak Cascades fleet, the trains will be named after Oregon mountain peaks. But choosing which peaks is up to the public. The list of potential names has been narrowed to: Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. McLoughlin, Mt. Scott and Mt. Thielsen. Information about the trains and a link to the survey are available on ODOT’s website. The naming survey will continue through National Train Day, May 11; celebrations are planned that day in Klamath Falls, Eugene, Salem and Portland.

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Oregon’s two new 13-car trains will join five other trains on the Amtrak Cascades corridor which provides service from Eugene to Vancouver, B.C. Two of the trains are owned by Amtrak (Mt. Hood and Mt. Olympus) and three are owned by Washington (Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier). Oregon purchased its own trains using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to help ensure continued service in the Willamette Valley. The cost of the trains is $38.4 million, with an additional $6 million in expenses for consultants, spare parts, testing and the addition of WiFi.

Each of the new trains offers seating for 275 passengers, a bistro car, a dining car, bicycle storage, business class seating and other amenities. After route and employee training, the trains will be put into service sometime this summer. ODOT has photos and more details about the new trains online at www.oregon.gov/ODOT.

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It’s Baaack! That proposed “lightning quick” toll road between Dayton and I-5!

Headed home on Highway 99 through Dundee. Order roller-skater pizza delivery while you wait.

Headed home on Highway 99 through Dundee.
Order roller-skater pizza delivery while you wait.

Although pictures like these are expected to subside somewhat after the Dundee-Newberg bypass is built, a highly controversial traffic-easing project has re-emerged in the state legislature – a toll road between just east of Dayton running all the way to I-5.

Getting to I-5 without having to go through Salem or Sherwood?

Getting to I-5 without having to go through Salem or Sherwood.

But be advised that legislative observers say while the project sounds good, those wanting to hold down state spending and to continue to preserve finite quantities of prime Yamhill and Marion County farmland are dead-set against it. The story is in the Oregonian. Click here

Toledo: Business 20 road settling near old firehouse getting closer look

Newer cracks uphill from originals - closest to old fire hall

Newer cracks uphill from originals – closest to old fire hall

Business 20 cracks original lower area

Business 20 cracks original lower area

toledo business 20 cracks lower cu1
Toe (bottom) of the hill appears stressed

Toe (bottom) of the hill appears stressed

Click photos to enlarge

The Toledo City Council Wednesday night approved a modified approach to fixing Business Highway 20 between the JC Market and the old fire hall. The slumping in the roadway first appeared last year and was limited to the northbound lane just as the road begins bending to the east. But since then, another set of cracks and slumps have appeared just north of the original cracks, cutting across both north and southbound lanes. “A hill on the move,” according to Toledo Public Works Director Adam Denlinger.

Denlinger told his city council that what was originally thought was a $115,000 road settling repair job may eventually grow into a $400,000 repair project. Whatever the amount, Toledo’s share of the cost is 10.2% of the final tally. City councilors said at an earlier workshop on the issue that the road is too important to be abandoned or treated as a second rate throughway. Denlinger said it means the council is “all in” for the proper fix.

That fix is to be determined after a detailed analysis of the hillside which overlooks at least one house. The house, according to Denlinger, is facing the toe (bottom) of the hill which appears to be under a substantial amount of stress. He says a lot of water may be moving through the hill as the groundwater drains downhill. He said a geologic engineering analysis will reveal what’s going on, which will then determine what the fix is.

The timeline for all this, says Denlinger, is still a little foggy, but the worst case scenario is for the study to be conducted through next winter to gauge water movement through the hillside and its effects on earth movement. However, Denlinger said there may be enough rain storms still left in Mother Nature for this year to where they might be able to get sufficient data to determine a fix this Summer. So a lot is still up in the air.

The council told Denlinger to work with ODOT engineers in determining the best way forward.

Toledo planners, residents and businesses grapple with challenges to getting around town.

Toledo’s Transportation Plan Committee has focused on several “problem spots” around town that it would like to have something done about in the near future.

The first on their list is the west junction of Highway 20 and Business 20. The intersection has a number of awkward turning angles which makes it hard sometimes to see oncoming traffic without pulling a muscle in your neck. That intersection is seen by many as dangerous and has been the seen of numerous fatal and near-fatal accidents. Another major issue is Sturdevant Road. It carries a lot of heavy trucks enroute to the GP Mill with lots of unavoidable traffic conflicts.

Railroad crossings are another thorn in the committee’s side. The old and decaying crossings along Butler Bridge Road and others cause excessive wear on vehicles and also causes damage to vehicles pulling boats on trailers and also to heavy recreational vehicles.

There are also challenges to East Slope Road including pedestrian access to the GP Mill. Bicycle lanes or pathways are needed as well as potential pedestrian/hiking trails along the right of way.

Also there is a need to re-route trucks to reduce conflicts with regular traffic around town. But what streets should the truck routes be?

The committee continues to ask for public input on all this. Their next meeting is set for November 7th, from 5-7pm at Toledo City Hall at 206 North Main Committee members say they’d like to have the plan ready for city council review and approval by Spring.

More preparations for logging trucks coming down SE Moore to Bay Boulevard.

SE Moore Task Force, City Hall
Diagram of re-designed SE Moore @ Bay Blvd
Click on photos to enlarge

Trying to stay ahead of the arrival next Spring of many logging trucks a day coming down SE Moore Road turning onto the Bay Road to the International Terminal, a citizens task force has prioritized ways to soften the impact on the area.

With all those logging trucks coming into Newport from the east, the task force said ODOT should move “lower speed limit ahead” warning signs farther east than where they are now, to given inbound traffic more time to slow down. The task force also wants ODOT to double the length of the Highway 20 @ SE Moore Road left turn lane. More trucks means greater need for storing more vehicles waiting to turn left. And the task force would like ODOT to do a speed study to ascertain whether speed limits coming into Newport ought to be lower.

The task force also supports the redesign of the intersection of SE Moore and Bay Boulevard which removes a lot of ground in front of the bank on the corner to make for better traffic flow up and down SE Moore. There is also a designated right turn lane southbound on SE Moore onto Bay Boulevard. The task force also wants bright LED lights accompanying stop and warning signs to alert motorists that the southbound SE Moore and northbound SE Moore traffic doesn’t stop. The task force also wants a left turn lane designated for southbound SE Moore into the bank. They also want parking removed on SE Moore Monday through Friday as well as on Bay Boulevard west of SE Moore for a ways so it doesn’t clutter up southbound SE Moore turns for truckers turning west on Bay. The task force would also like to have rumble strips on southbound SE Moore near the intersection with Bay. And they want log export operator Teevin Brothers to work closely with log truck drivers to ensure they know how to properly navigate the SE Moore @ Bay Boulevard intersection.

The task force will also be asking the county public works director to re-examine speeds on the Bay Road from about Vista to the east and to clear brush from along public rights of way in the area to enhance visibility.

These and perhaps some additional points will be presented to the Port of Newport Commission as well as the Newport City Council within a few weeks. Funding for the SE Moore @ Bay Boulevard intersection modification has yet to be worked out, but task force members agreed it will likely involve an investment by Newport, the Port of Newport and log exporter Teevin Brothers.

Log export operations are expected to commence in a May-June timeframe. Neighbors and city officials say they hope that a long term alternate route to the International Terminal can eventually be worked out. But that will likely take some breakthroughs on selecting a new route and funding to build it.

ODOT to demolish more ill-fated bridge supports on Highway 20 project

ODOT photos

Work resumed on the Highway 20 project back in June after design problems caused ODOT and the original contractor, Granite Construction, to part ways. A new contractor working with ODOT is in the process of taking down a lot of what Granite had put up, especially in the way of bridges. It was the bridges that tipped off inspectors in that unstable ground made bridge construction too expensive in some high ground-movement areas. As a result, design engineers decided to re-route the highway by staying on the bottoms of the valleys and avoid what are commonly referred to as “mud glaciers” which continued to move and misalign four sets of bridge supports installed by Granite.

Another set of those bridge supports will be demolished this Monday. Replacing the bridges with culverts is more cost effective than long term bridge maintenance in landslide areas, according to ODOT.

ODOT says they expect the Highway 20 project to be complete by Fall of 2015. It will make travel to and from the valley a lot safer and faster since the highway will be wider and without tire screeching sharp curves and bends in it.

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