Major intersection on SE 82nd Avenue slated for makeover

See where, and learn when, ODOT will make changes to a spot that’s had 41 crashes in five years …

-1 ODOT Project Manager Nate Scott points out the intersection that will get a “makeover”, starting next year.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The public members got their first look at a project to be undertaken by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) on April 24, in a meeting at the Mt. Scott Community Center.

“This open house is to let the community know about an upcoming traffic safety project we have that will be built at SE Duke St. and 82nd Avenue,” explained ODOT Project Manager Nate Scott. “It is primarily a signal-replacement project.”

This is an ODOT project, Scott said, because SE 82nd Avenue is actually State Highway 213. “It is operated by the City of Portland, but is a designated State highway,” Scott said.

ODOT Region 1 Traffic Operations Engineer Kate Freitag revealed that the intersection was chosen due to the number of accidents there.

“Statewide, we look in crash data, using the Safety Priority Index System,” Freitag said.  “It shows the crash rates against the traffic volume; and helps determine where the high-crash locations are.  This location was in the top 10% of intersections, state-wide.”

Specifically, an ODOT document showed that in a recent five-year period, 2008-2012, 41 crashes took place in the area.

Scott told East Portland News that, over the next year, they’ll be replacing “old and outdated traffic signal equipment with new modern signals that will be much more visible. We are going to be improving the pedestrian signals as well, by replacing those with modern countdown signal heads.”

Outer East Portland neighbor David Hyde learns more about the project from ODOT Project Manager Nate Scott.

Lents Neighborhood Association Transportation Chair David Hyde was asking Scott about the new TriMet bus turn-out lane planned for the project.

“We’ll be moving the bus stop that’s currently on the northwest corner of SE 82nd Avenue at Duke Street to the southwest corner of the intersection – and providing an out-of-travel-lane bus pullout there.

“This will improve the congestion and operation issues; and increase safety. By moving the bus through the signal before it stops, that creates a safer situation,” Scott informed.

Hyde also quizzed Scott about whether ODOT planned to add sidewalks in the area.

“The project includes in-filling sidewalks on the west side of the street,” Scott said, “from SE Duke Street to SE Claiborne St. And, the project also upgrades the ADA ramps on all four corners.”

The project is currently in its planning and contracting phases; construction is expected to begin next spring, and be complete in the fall of 2015.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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