Oregon State University: Work set to begin on multi-modal improvement plan for key OSU corridor

Oregon State University will begin work next week on a project to contribute to safety, accessibility and multi-modal transportation features along Southwest Washington Way, an important east-west corridor for OSU’s Corvallis campus and the community.

The project is expected to be completed in phases over the next two years.

Washington Way will be reconstructed from Southwest Benton Place on the east end to Southwest 35th Street on the west end. The roadway will be relocated further from the railroad tracks used by Portland & Western Railroad; a two-lane dedicated bike lane and a wider pedestrian sidewalk will be constructed; and intersection and crossing accessibility will be improved.

“Improving Washington Way will contribute to the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers traveling through the OSU campus and will provide more opportunities for travelers to use alternative modes of transportation,” said Paul Odenthal, OSU senior associate vice president for finance and administration.

Initial work, including required tree removal, will begin the week of March 21, 2022; installation of a replacement city of Corvallis water line, a joint project of the university and the city, is planned this summer; and street reconstruction will occur in phases from September through approximately June 2023.

Under the improvement plan, the roadway will be relocated away from the railroad tracks that run along the street by shifting vehicle travel lanes about 10 feet north of the current roadway. Landscaping will divide the new roadway from a two-lane separated bicycle lane, with a widened pedestrian sidewalk built to adjoin the bikeway. In addition, accessibility improvements will be made to curbs and intersections, and new fencing and lighting will be installed.

Along the north side of Southwest Washington Way, 27 trees must be removed to accommodate the wider roadway. The 25-year-old red maple trees will be replaced with new diverse trees and shrubs as part of the project’s landscape design.

“This project is an important contribution to campus as it blends and connects the north and south, as well as the west and east portions of campus,” said Steve Clark, vice president for university relations and marketing. “The new corridor design encourages reduced vehicle speeds and traffic calming, which will contribute to safety for all users and the university community.”

The estimated cost of the project is $24 million and will be paid for with OSU revenue bonds. The university owns Southwest Washington Way and is responsible for its maintenance.

Clark said the project’s corridor improvements are required by the city of Corvallis and contribute to both city and university transportation plans by enhancing connectivity within campus and from west Corvallis to east Corvallis and downtown. The project also encourages alternative modes of transportation through the construction of the two-lane separated bicycle track, which is the first of its kind in the city of Corvallis.

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