Bypass experiences setback, but will forge on
ODOT application for $37.1 million to redesign planned intersection in Dundee fails, but delegation feels bid will still pay dividends
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the list of 52 projects in 37 states that will receive funding from the $474 million 2013 TIGER discretionary grant program, but the Oregon Department of Transportations $37.1 million bid to redesign part of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass was not included.
Because work has already been started on the Newberg end of the bypass, the failed application was likely ODOTs last chance to replace the signal-controlled intersection with a freeway style interchange during the initial phase of the project.
ODOT said it will move forward with the original plans to install the fishhook intersection, which it selected because it did not have enough funding to acquire the land and build the bridges necessary to construct the preferred and less constricting interchange design.
This wasnt their favorite solution either, Yamhill County Parkways Committee chairman David Haugeberg said of ODOT. It was the one that they could afford. The other choice was to build nothing.
Haugeberg, who was part of delegations of local officials sent to both Salem and Washington, D.C., to garner support for the grant, said that even though the application failed, the effort to make the bid wasnt a total loss because the ground work that was laid to build support at the state and federal levels could pay when applying for funding for future phases of the bypass.
Not only did the delegation approach the Oregon Transportation Commission in Salem last spring and receive the approval required as part of the federal application process, but Haugeberg reported that board moved the bypass intersection project up on its list of priority projects.
Haugeberg was similarly pleased with the reception the project received from Oregons representatives in Congress, as their support will be key if a sixth generation of TIGER grant funding is made available.
Ultimately, I think we significantly increased the understanding of a lot of very important people about the need to enhance the performance of that intersection, Haugeberg said. Thats the first step.
ODOT project manager Tim Potter said that modifications to the fishhook intersection, specifically creating ramps to connect northbound traffic on Highway 99W directly onto the bypass and southbound traffic on the bypass to the countys major north-south thoroughfare, are a possibility to be installed after Phase I is completed, but only if funding can be secured.