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Last stop signs on Walnut Street being replaced with signal


The northern intersection of Walnut and 135th Avenue is being signalized as part of a Washington County road improvement project.

TIMES PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Traffic signal poles have been newly installed at the intersection of Walnut Street and 135th Avenue just south of Tigard city limits, which is currently an all-way stop.Poles upon which traffic signals will be mounted were erected this week at the intersection of Walnut Street and 135th Avenue, the last site on Walnut Street where stop signs currently control the flow of traffic.

The signalization of the northern intersection of Walnut and 135th — there is another intersection to the south, as 135th Avenue is not a contiguous street, but motorists on Walnut Street are not required to stop there — is part of a $6.9 million project included in Washington County's Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program, or MSTIP. That project includes the reconstruction of Walnut Street between 116th and Tiedeman avenues, near Fowler Middle School.

Mike McCarthy, a senior project engineer with the Tigard Public Works Department, said signalizing the northern Walnut and 135th intersection has been a project in the works for a few years now.

"We've been hearing a lot about how long the traffic delay gets around 5 o'clock or so, particularly westbound, and then eastbound in the morning," he said.

The T-shaped junction is the first major intersection on Walnut Street south of Beaverton, through which the road is signed as Murray Boulevard.

For most of its length, Murray Boulevard has two travel lanes in either direction, separated by either a middle turning lane or a median. All of its major intersections are signalized, including one with Bowerman Drive, on which Nike Inc. has its world headquarters.

"It's the last all-way stop on Walnut, and it's the last all-way stop on the Murray-Walnut-Gaarde (Street) corridor," McCarthy said of the 135th Avenue intersection — not counting two all-way stops at intersections in the Cedar Mill area north of Northwest Cornell Road, where the road signed in Tigard as Walnut Street is just a small residential street called Northwest Murray Road.

The City of Tigard also monitors the flow of traffic through its intersections, and Walnut and 135th stands out.

"This is the most volume we have on an all-way stop intersection," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said he expects the signals to improve the flow of traffic.

"Our projections are that when it's complete, most people are getting through on the first cycle," he said, adding, "I know a lot of people (who) go through it at 5 o'clock will probably be pretty happy to see it."

Pedestrian crossing signals will be installed as well, McCarthy noted.

According to Washington County's project website, the Walnut Street construction project is scheduled to wrap up by late June.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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