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U.S. 26 Cornell to Highway 217

Project Summary:A $37 million project to widen U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) to three lanes in each direction between Cornell Road and Highway 217.  See computer simulation of project.
Construction Status and Timeline:Construction began May 2004 and is substantially complete.
Latest Information: Work on this project is substantially complete.

Background and Overview

The Oregon Department of Transportation is substantially complete on the construction of improvements on the Sunset Highway (U.S. 26) between Cornell Road and Oregon Highway 217.  The goal of this project was to improve the operation and safety of this stretch of highway, while accommodating connections with existing streets.
The original project was extended another 1 ¼ miles west to Cornell Road, made possible by an additional $7 million in funding from the Oregon Transportation Investment Act and Washington County. The combined project is expected to cost approximately $37 million.
The Sunset Highway was experiencing substantial congestion between the Highway 217 connection and Cornell Road due to rapid growth in traffic volumes. There also were safety issues for traffic entering and leaving Highway 26 between the Highway 217 and Cedar Hills Boulevard ramps.
The improvements were designed to continue the widening that has been underway east of Highway 217 to maintain acceptable traffic flows for an urban expressway of statewide importance. Highway 26 was widened to three through lanes in each direction with auxiliary lanes for traffic exiting to Highway 217, Cedar Hills Boulevard and Murray Boulevard.
Before and After Computer Simulation

Project Goals
  • Accommodate projected future traffic volumes within the accepted level of service for an urban expressway of statewide importance.
  • Maintain the operational integrity of the highway through the use of traffic management strategies.
  • Eliminate the weaving conflicts westbound between the Highway 217 on-ramp and the Cedar Hills Boulevard off-ramp.
  • Reconnect the Barnes Road westbound on-ramp.
  • Minimize physical and operational effects on the Sunset Transit Center.
  • Avoid, minimize and mitigate, as appropriate, impacts to adjacent property and involved natural resources.
  • Consider design needs of other highway projects and concepts related to the project area.

New Traffic Patterns
The project eliminated the weaving conflicts for westbound traffic between the Highway 217 on-ramp and the Cedar Hills Boulevard off-ramp.  Click on the image below to see a PDF of the upcoming traffic changes.

Traffic entering westbound Highway 26 from Highway 217 now merges with mainline traffic west of the Cedar Hills interchange. Traffic from northbound Highway 217 may either merge with U.S. 26 traffic or use Barnes Road to access Cedar Hills Boulevard. Westbound U.S. 26 main-line traffic can exit to Highway 217, Barnes Road or Cedar Hills Boulevard.
The project also reconnected Barnes Road with westbound Highway 26 near the Oregon Highway 217 interchange.  The Barnes Road westbound on-ramp to Highway 26 was removed during the West Side Light Rail and Highway 217 Interchange realignment projects.
These traffic improvements were accomplished using an elevated ramp to separate conflicting traffic from the westbound mainline. Also known as a braided ramp, this structure created some visual impacts in the area.

ODOT Contact Information
Steve Harry, Community Affairs Manager, (503) 731-3490