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Monroe Street to close for light-rail construction

In time for the big weekend closure of McLoughlin Boulevard, the last of the planned light-rail street closures for this summer are going into effect.

Construction on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project will require a three-week around-the-clock closure of Southeast Monroe Street in downtown Milwaukie between 21st and 25th avenues.

Beginning at 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, through 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25, construction crews are installing a new stormwater line and light-rail tracks, as well as heavy rail tracks for the Portland & Western Railroad. Construction work hours are scheduled Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Upon the completion of light-rail construction in downtown Milwaukie, safety features will make the crossings eligible for quiet-zone implementation, a longtime goal of City Council. In a quiet zone, light-rail and freight trains will only sound their horns at crossings if conductors see an immediate safety issue.

TriMet officials say that keeping businesses and residences accessible is a top priority throughout all phases of construction. They promise that local access for businesses and residences within the closure area will be maintained at all times. For detour information and maps, visit trimet.org/pm/construction.

Construction of the light-rail project will also require the closure of McLoughlin Boulevard/Highway 99E between Southeast Washington Street and River Road from 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19. Working 24 hours a day, construction crews will be placing large steel bridge girders over McLoughlin/99E in order to create the bridge that will carry light rail from downtown Milwaukie over Kellogg Lake, McLoughlin and residential streets before returning to grade south of River Road.

TriMet warned motorists to expect delays while traveling around work zones. McLoughlin will be open for local access only between River Road/Bluebird Street and Park Avenue, and between Harrison and Washington streets.

TriMet bus line 33-McLoughlin will be rerouted to Oatfield Road via Park Avenue and Lake Road. Bus riders should plan extra travel time due to traffic delays.

To get the word out about closures, TriMet has sent weekly construction updates, staffed the Sunday Milwaukie Farmers Market since June (except for one Sunday) and handed out detour maps. After sending mailers to more than 4,000 residents and businesses, staff went door-to-door to businesses and residents since early June, starting first for those impacted by the Washington closure, then moving to communicating about the Harrison closures, then to Monroe and McLoughlin.

"The approach was a comprehensive overview of the summer construction schedule, with individual maps for Washington Street businesses/residents that focused on that closure, and we did the same for Harrison, etc.," said Mary Fetsch, Trimet spokeswoman. "We also met with the historical neighborhood association."