Slowdowns for construction on Chemawa Road will continue through the first few months of school this fall. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

Slowdowns for construction on Chemawa Road will continue through the first few months of school this fall. (KEIZERTIMES file/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

Construction on Chemawa Road will continue as McNary High School starts up again next week.

Work resumed on the project later than anticipated this summer, meaning things could be slow for a while. The project, being administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), stretches from River Road to Keizer Rapids Park.

“We apologize for the disruption to both motorists and pedestrians over the next couple of months as we complete this project,” said Lou Torres, a Public Affairs specialist with ODOT. “The commitment from the state, city and contractor is to complete the project by late fall. While we still have a lot of work to do, it is progressing well.”

Torres said an exact date isn’t known yet.

“No specific dates, although we are thinking end of November on completion of the project,” he said on Tuesday.

The 2014-15 school year starts at MHS on Tuesday, Sept. 2 for freshmen and Sept. 3 for all other students.

Torres said impacts on motorists will be similar to what has been seen throughout the summer since work resumed.

“We will be working most daytime/school time hours,” he said. “Motorists near McNary can still expect periodic lane closures with traffic controlled by flaggers so we can move trucks and equipment around. We are expecting short or brief lane closures so the delays will be kept at a minimum.”

Motorists turning off Chemawa at Celtic Way into MHS will notice new poles and traffic lights, though they will not be operational when the school year starts.

“During the first week of classes next week, the plans are to pour the concrete sidewalks on the south side of the road,” Torres said. “We hope to have that sidewalk open and available after next week. While the signal has been installed, we cannot go operational with it until we finish the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) ramps at the corners. The intersection has to be completed before we can activate the signal.”

And when might that be?

“We are thinking that the ADA ramps and signal will be ready to go later in September,” Torres said.

As part of the project, ODOT leaders have recently started giving weekly updates to city officials.

The Aug. 20 update mentioned most of the sidewalk on the south side of Chemawa Road was completed over the last week.

Here is the most recent update, from Aug. 20.

“Over the last week, the contractor was able to complete most of the general sidewalk on the south side of Chemawa Road.

The south side sidewalks will be completed, from Shoreline Drive up to Elizabeth Street, with the installation of the half-driveways. As mentioned before, at each driveway, half of the drive is installed at a time. This allows a cure time on the concrete at these locations prior to allowing vehicle traffic over the drives.

These second half of the drives were scheduled to be prepared and possibly placed this week.  However, at the height to this construction season, the contractor is experiencing some employee and staffing issues. Hopefully, these will be resolved promptly.

This work will be followed by minor asphalt paving that will fill the gap between the new concrete gutter and the edge of the existing roadway pavement, during the weeks to follow.

It is anticipated that when school starts, the pedestrian traffic will be restricted to the south side of Chemawa and work will commence on the north side, from Chehalis Drive to Elizabeth Street.

Efforts continue to lock in their new project schedule dates for the key items of filling the water quality swales and planter areas.”