ODOT is in the design phase on a highway improvement project on OR 217. Construction is slated to begin in 2021. The main project elements are:
- Build an auxiliary lane on OR 217 southbound from Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, continuing south to connect with an existing auxiliary lane at OR 99W. Build auxiliary lanes on OR 217 northbound from OR 99W to Scholls Ferry Road
Drivers will use this auxiliary/right lane for getting on and off the highway. Those driving straight on OR 217 will have two full lanes to travel in, separate from the on- and off-ramp merging traffic. These will reduce recurring bottlenecks and allow for more stable traffic flow at the OR 217 interchanges
- Build a frontage road between the Allen Boulevard and Denney Road interchanges along OR 217 southbound. This will eliminate the Allen Boulevard southbound on-ramp and the Denney Road southbound off-ramp. Instead, drivers will use the new frontage road to travel south between Allen Boulevard and Denney Road. These two interchanges are one of the worst bottleneck locations on OR 217 and also one of the most dangerous. A frontage road will reduce the weaving movements and and crashes. The newly configured Allen/Denney interchange will function similarly to the Canyon Road/Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway interchange to the north
- Widen the Scholls Ferry off-ramp from OR 217 northbound to include an additional lane
- Build several retaining walls
- Replace one of the Hall Boulevard bridges over OR 217. There are two Hall Boulevard bridges over OR 217 - one near Washington Square and one farther south at SW Pfaffle Street. The bridge being replaced is the one farther south, at SW Pfaffle Street (near OR 99W in Tigard). The bridge replacement is needed to accommodate the new auxiliary lanes
- Widen highway shoulders so stalled vehicles can move out of traffic and emergency vehicles can quickly respond
- Conduct a noise study to evaluate the feasibility of building sound walls.
- Improve bicycle and pedestrian connections in the project area.
Why is this project needed?
OR 217 connects I-5 and U.S. 26, two major transportation corridors in the Portland metro area. This seven-mile stretch of highway carries up to 120,000 vehicles a day. The highway has 10 interchanges in just over seven miles of highway, with some of the shortest interchange spacing in the region. Short weaving distances contribute to high crash rates, with approximately 70% of crashes as rear end collisions. Afternoon peak travel times on OR 217 are unpredictable and unreliable, varying from less than 10 minutes to more than 30 minutes. Closely spaced interchanges cause significant bottlenecks, leading to high crash rates. Crashes increase congestion, causing more delays.
ODOT is focusing on lower-cost, effective and immediate solutions to improve bottleneck locations. These improvements are not intended to address capacity-related congestion, but rather to provide immediate and long-term safety improvements at bottleneck locations. One solution is building auxiliary lanes.
What is an auxiliary lane?
Auxiliary lanes are designed to separate the slower vehicles entering or exiting the highway from the higher speed vehicles continuing to drive along the highway. They are built either from one interchange to the next, or span several interchanges.
Auxiliary lanes reduce conflict, improve traffic reliability and allow for more stable flow of traffic at interchanges. Ultimately, fewer crashes are expected as the weaving and merging occurs in a separate lane from the rest of the highway.
The new auxiliary lanes on OR 217 will be on the right side of the highway and will span several interchanges before ultimately ending at an off-ramp.
OR 217 southbound Beaverton Hillsdale Highway to Greenburg Road and OR 217 northbound OR 99W to Scholls Ferry Road
Cost and Funding
The Oregon Legislature allocated $98 million toward this project in House Bill 2017. This amount includes two projects: 18841 and 21179.
With the passage of HB 2017, also called Keep Oregon Moving, the Oregon Legislature made a significant investment in transportation to help further the things that Oregonians value—a vibrant economy with good jobs, strong communities with a good quality of life, a clean environment, and safe, healthy people. Read more about HB 2017.
A contractor hasn't been selected yet.
Local and regional traffic on OR 217 will benefit most from the auxiliary lane extension. Only 10% to 15% of the trips on OR 217 go from one end to the other. The other 85% to 90% of trips use one or more of the interchanges along OR 217. The auxiliary lanes will separate slower traffic movements from the freeway, helping smooth traffic flow, reduce the potential for crashes and improve traffic reliability. Overall, this will improve the regional economy by facilitating the movement of goods and services.
Additionally, the new frontage/connector road at the Allen Boulevard and Denney Road interchanges will remove the extremely short weaving section that is one of the worst bottlenecks on OR 217 and has a high frequency of crashes. This road will also provide a place for existing traffic to wait to access cross streets, rather than backing up onto the highway.
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