Expect more construction along 13th Avenue and Patterson

View Eugene, Ore. — August road construction in a larger map

Though the City of Eugene has made considerable headway in road reconstruction projects around campus this summer, several streets remain fully or partially closed as contractors diligently work toward a fall completion deadline. 

Come fall, the citys’s Department of Public Works expects 20 repair projects to be complete, representing more than 70 lane miles of revamped asphalt at a cost of $20 million.

The city began this summer’s bout of roadwork in mid-spring, and can boast several completed construction projects, including the rebuilt intersection at 29th Avenue and Willamette Street and more than a dozen repaved blocks along High Street starting at Third Avenue.

Labor and materials for the work, including 135,000 tons of asphalt, have been primarily funded by Eugene’s local gas tax and a voter-approved bond measure to doctor deteriorated streets. State and federal dedicated road funds have also made the jobs possible.

DPW’s primary reason for tackling roadwork projects during the summer is to take advantage of the dry weather, as well as to perform major repairs while fewer students are milling around University neighborhoods.

“For best results, asphalt should be applied when it is relatively warm and dry,” DPW’s Public Affairs Manager Eric Jones said. “We (also) take into account major community events and school timelines, so…when working around school zones, we try to start after classes end and finish before fall term starts.”

As of August 12, Jones said, progress on all summer projects is “well past the halfway mark,” with a significant amount of work left to be done before students start moving in. Of the several street closures surrounding the campus area, here are two to be mindful of:

13th Avenue from Washington to Alder Street

Wildish Construction began paving along a 13-block section of this important downtown arterial on Wednesday as they removed the top layer of deteriorated pavement and prepared the surface for a new three-inch-thick cover coat of asphalt. Wildish is set to finish paving Friday, and will then apply new roadway markings and perform general clean-up work.

Traffic signals will be temporarily disabled in work areas, with traffic flow maintained by flaggers. Though at least one lane will be kept open along 13th Avenue at all times, the city advises motorists to expect delays and detours when driving on streets that cross 13th.

DPW expects the project to be completed by the end of the month, and to make for much more efficient pedestrian transit along an important campus route that handles an average of 12,000 vehicles per day.

“The repaving of 13th Avenue should be wrapping up in the next week or two,” Jones said. “As one of the gateways to campus, (it) will be a much smoother street for bicycles and motor vehicles, and a number of new access ramps will be a big improvement for pedestrians.”

Patterson Street between 13th and 18th Avenues

Construction has been steadily heading north on Patterson, and is currently in stage 3, involving a combination of reconstruction and repaving that will require a half-street closure. Over the past few weeks, the contractor has dug out most of the west half of the street, leaving a deep trough that it plans to rebuild from the ground up.

This week, pavement is set to be poured within two inches of the final elevation, which will make the west half drivable again, and the process will then be repeated for the east half. One lane of southbound traffic is open on Patterson, but turning east or west and crossing the street from 14th to 17th Avenues will be restricted.

City officials have cautioned motorists to drive with care in construction zones in order to expedite work and ensure driver, pedestrian and worker safety.

“Use caution when traveling though work zones,” Pavement Preservation Program Manager Matt Rodrigues said. “You have to be on the lookout for lane detours and sudden stops, as well as workers and equipment right next to the travel lane; plan ahead, slow down and pay attention.”

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