By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
It appears the Chemawa Road reconstruction project is finally in the final stretch.
The project spanning from River Road to Keizer Rapids Park was delayed multiple times but crews have been busy for months getting things done.
One of the main parts of the project involves the new signal at Chemawa and Celtic Way, the entrance to McNary High School. The poles with the lights were put in several months ago but haven’t been activated.
A Dec. 4 update from the Oregon Department of Transportation – the agency overseeing the project – listed the signal activation being anticipated for either Dec. 16 or 18.
Bill Lawyer, Public Works director for Keizer, said Monday evening he hadn’t heard anything more exact in terms of timing.
Lou Torres, Public Information representative for ODOT, didn’t have a set date, either.
“No concrete date has been set for the signal activation,” Torres said Tuesday. “However, our goal is to get it turned on before Christmas. The ultimate decision will be made by the City of Salem which inspects and will maintain the signal for the City of Keizer. I understand that the City of Salem ‘turns on’ signals on Tuesdays or Thursdays, so I suspect that is why you heard of those dates.
“Activation of the signal was delayed because we had to make some adjustments to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) ramps and pedestals (that contain the buttons) and we are completing those adjustments this week,” Torres added.
According to last week’s ODOT update, the asphalt paving, sidewalks and drainage features are “substantially complete” and minor repair/replacement work is being done to finish final punch list items. Landscape planting in the water quality swales and planter areas is scheduled to start with material staging. Planting is expected to be ongoing in December.
“Once we get the signal activated before Christmas, only the landscaping will need to be done,” Torres said. “We are currently digging up trees to transplant them along Chemawa. We anticipate that landscaping will be completed in January some time. At that time, the project will be finally completed.”
While work related to traffic signal construction and material installation is done, there may be intermittent one-lane traffic.
The $3.5 million project was supposed to be done in 2012 but got delayed. It didn’t get started on time last year due to utilities not being relocated in time, which led to only part of the project being done in 2013. Work resumed in the spring and has been going solidly since.
“While the project was delayed and took longer than we had anticipated, the final product will be a great addition to the City of Keizer,” Torres said. “The project adds safety, makes the area pedestrian and bicycle friendly with ADA compliance and beautifies the area. It will be something that the City of Keizer can be proud of. Again, we apologize for the delays and inconvenience that it may have caused during construction.”