BENTON COUNTY, Ore. — The Benton County Board of Commissioners voted to start the design work for a new overpass.
The recommendation includes adding a 113 foot single-span overpass on 53rd Street just south of the fairgrounds.
It will rise 35 feet to clear the railroad tracks, have two traffic lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks, and will be designed where two additional travel lanes can be added later if needed.
Benton County leaders say this project, concerning the area where traffic currently travels beneath the railroad trestle, has been on the county’s wish list since 1985.
County engineers say the current design has several safety issues, including a narrow multi-use path, and a 13.6 foot limit for vehicles traveling through. They say the underpass is also very problematic in bad weather.
“That does tend to be a very icy location and our crews tend to sand it quite a bit because the accumulation of water during high water events. It also floods and so people have to be detoured around,” said Benton County Engineering Manager Laurie Starha.
The county has acquired funding for the planning and design work, but it’s still looking for the more than seven million dollars it’ll cost to build the overpass.
There are no plans yet as to when the construction would begin.