BEND, Ore. - People driving on Bend’s Westside may have to adjust their routes soon. A $5.5 million project will drastically improve 14th Street, but will also impact traffic.
Construction is set to begin April 2 on the 14th Street improvement project, and there’s been a change of plans since NewsChannel 21 first ran this story.
Originally, work was going to take place in three stages. Albany to Simpson avenues would be worked on first from April to June of this year, then Newport to Galveston avenues from June to September. The work then would return to build the new Simpson roundabout from September to November.
But feedback from local businesses condensed it into a more intense, two-part project. Now the roundabout will be included in the first stage, impacting the area more, but for a shorter period of time.
“The roundabout is going to be closed," Ben Hemson, the city's business advocate, said Tuesday. "There are going to be detours, and all businesses are going to remain accessible and open, but it’s going to be a pretty intensive project for a couple of months there.”
There will be a main detour through Mount Washington Drive, and the city is trying something it's never done before to make sure people can get around as easily as possible.
“Google and Waze, the navigation apps -- we’re going to be updating those with our construction zones," project engineer Garrett Sabourin said. "So people visiting town, or people who just want to go to their favorite business, can utilize those apps to find the best route."
Sabourin said the completion date of this project is now earlier than expected, moving up from November to September.
Both Sabourin and Hemson said the project will definitely impact traffic in the area, and some businesses have expressed concern, but for the most part, people understand the work has to be done. Sabourin said the infrastructure is failing and needs to be updated. Improvements will include adding sidewalks on each side of the roadway and buffered bike lanes.
“The community has been very vocal in the need for additional safety improvements, in particular crossing 14th Street," Sabourin said. "We’re looking at a lot of upgrades to our pedestrian features, as are necessary to get across 14th Street.”
More information about the project can be found at this link: www.bendoregon.gov/14thStreet