Transportation Bill Includes Port Entryby Dean Brickey
The East Oregonian, August 20, 2009
The Port of Umatilla hopes to have a new, straighter, flatter entrance to its Columbia River terminal next year.
Kim Puzey, the port's general manager, said the new route would improve traffic flow to and from the terminal. He envisions a new mile of pavement connecting with Beach Access Road to eliminate a hairpin turn and one at-grade rail crossing on a hill between Bud Draper Road and the terminals.
The grade of the new route is significantly less, Puzey said. He also said it will provide drivers greater safety because of greater visibility and eliminating the rail crossing.
The 2009 Legislature approved House Bill 2001, the Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act, which legislators introduced at the request of Gov. Ted Kulongoski. It contained the funding for this and other transportation projects in the region.
The Northeast Area Commission on Transportation approved the $4.5 million project Aug. 6. It next goes before the Oregon Transportation Commission in October.
"When they act, the funding will be available," Puzey said Wednesday. "At that point we will go out to bid on design-construction work."
Puzey is having some work done on preliminary conceptual design and construction estimates. He hopes the road work can be done during the 2010 construction season.
"The new entrance that will come as the result of House Bill 2001 will be more efficient for all the movement of freight in and out of our grain, fuel and container terminals," Puzey said. "We are especially pleased with the safety that will come from eliminating the at-grade rail crossing."
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