KEIZERTIMES/File photo

KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Changes are in the works for the main route into Keizer Station, and the hope is that they help pave the way for more efficient bus routes and a potential movie theater.

At its meeting Monday, Nov. 21, the Keizer City Council approved the city’s portion of funding for a signalized intersection on Keizer Station Boulevard Northeast at the entrance/exit of the Keizer Transit Center.

The council approved nearly $462,000 for the project, but the actual cost is expected to be significantly less. Salem-Keizer Transit will lead the effort and an engineering firm, Kittelson and Associates, is already working on a design package that will be put out for bid in the coming months.

When the Keizer Transit Center was originally envisioned, a signalized intersection was planned, but as costs mounted Transit District officials opted for a right-in, right-out driveway to cut expenses.

“It didn’t look like we were going to have enough money for it, but we had some funds left over from federal grants that will pay for the construction,” said Steve Dickey, director of transportation development for Salem-Keizer Transit.

While starting dates will depend on the completion of the engineering package, Dickey hoped to see construction begin as early as next spring and be completed by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

“We will reconfigure the median for left-in and left-out traffic and the sidewalks, which will have pedestrian signals,” Dickey said.

The proposal is likely to include a second left turn lane onto eastbound Chemawa Road North to handle the increased capacity.

Bill Lawyer, Keizer’s public works director, said some lanes may be closed during construction, but Keizer Station Boulevard would remain open to traffic.

The final design will also incorporate a driveway and curbs for the property on the north side of Keizer Station Boulevard across the street from the Keizer Transit Center.

In October, the city council approved a plan to work toward a lease on that property. If everything comes together, a medium-sized, first-run movie theater with beer, wine, liquor and food sales might end up calling the space home.

There is still a long road to walk before construction could begin on the theater, but the inclusion of the driveway in plans for the signalized intersection is a step worth noting.

Once the intersection is complete, Dickey said it will improve bus service.

“Right now, every route that goes through the Keizer Transit Center takes an extra three to five minutes to get out of Keizer Station. The signalized intersection will give us more flexibility and maybe a bit more capacity,” Dickey said.

The project is expected to cost about $1.2 million. Keizer will reimburse Salem-Keizer Transit for 20 percent of the actual costs. The first payment will be due after the district certifies project costs and second will be due at the onset of the 2017-2018 fiscal year.