$24 million OSU project to fund safety improvements, nix parking spots | Local

Oregon State University will begin working the week of March 21 on the next campus safety improvement project, a $24 million multimodal improvement plan along Southwest Washington Way which will increase accessibility and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers traveling through campus.

The project includes the elimination of more than two dozen maple trees and 123 parking spots.

The details were shared during a walking tour on Monday, March 14. From Southwest Benton Place on the east end to Southwest 35th Street on the west end, Washington Way will be relocated 10 feet to the north, away from the railroad tracks used by Portland & Western railroad.

Landscaping will divide this new roadway from a two-lane dedicated bike lane and a wider pedestrian walkway, and intersection and crossing accessibility will be improved along the tracks with the installation of new fencing and lighting to alert passersby of an oncoming train.

Paul Odenthal, OSU senior associate vice president for finance and administration, said this project is not driven by incidents that occurred near the railroad tracks but rather to provide continuity and increased safety across campus.

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Initial work beginning March 21 will include removing 27 maple trees along the north side of Southwest Washington Way to accommodate the wider roadway and replacing them with new diverse trees and shrubs that fit the project’s landscape design. The current maple trees are 25 years old and have roots growing above the ground.

Additionally, the university will split the cost with the city of Corvallis for a replacement water line to be constructed this summer. The current water line was built in 1952, and the replacement will be brought up to current standards.

Approximately 123 parking spots directly adjacent to Washington Way will be eliminated for the relocation of the roadway. These spots will not be relocated, as university rules require to replace parking spots only for building construction projects, not infrastructure improvements.

The $24 million project, which includes the university’s share of the replacement water line, will be paid for with OSU revenue bonds. The project will be completed in multiple segments over the next two years, and is expected to be finished by early 2024.

Street reconstruction will occur in phases from September through June 2023, and the university will inform students and community members of when and where to expect construction delays and road closures.

“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,” he said.

The city of Corvallis requires the project’s corridor improvements, which Clark said will contribute to both city and university transportation plans by enhancing connectivity across campus. The two-lane separated bicycle track will be the first of its kind in Corvallis.

More information about the timeline and details of the project is available at https://beav.es/wnF.

Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_. 

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