One of the highest crash corridors in the state is about to receive a safety makeover at one of its riskiest intersections.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s design plans to improve the intersection at Northeast Sandy Boulevard (also known as U.S. Highway 30) and 105th Avenue are unfolding on schedule, here with construction planned for April or May 2016. The $504,000 project should be finished by late summer or early fall 2016. “We’re just finalizing the design,” said Brandy Steffen, community affairs coordinator at ODOT. “There are a few little pieces that we still have to confirm but it was pretty much completed in August.”

Work crews will add a left turn lane from Sandy so drivers can travel south on 105th Avenue. Since their initial designs in April, engineers discovered they have space also to add a turn lane heading westbound onto Sandy Boulevard from Northeast 105th Avenue.

“[Those lanes] will have their own turn signals at both of those blocks, so it will be safer for cars turning onto Sandy and onto 105th,” she said.

A second change since April is ODOT’s decision to install signals for pedestrians crossing Sandy. These signals will convey an electronic number countdown. “That’s an added safety feature that we’ll be adding to the project,” she said. “So when people are crossing Sandy they’ll hit the button and they will see a little person come up and then they see a countdown, so they know how long they have to cross the street.”

Over past years, westbound drivers have been turning illegally from Sandy onto the southbound lane of Northeast 105th Avenue.

ODOT will also remove a median with trees planted on it from Sandy in order to construct the turn lane onto 105th Avenue. “It’s one of those tough times where it doesn’t seem like anything is happening, but the engineers are busy at work, just making sure that everything meets standards and we can really try to make as many improvements at the intersection as possible,” Steffen said.

In early March, ODOT will open bids to private construction firms to work on the project. At that time, ODOT will post a link for various firms to apply to win the contract for construction work.

Steffen and her staff conducted more outreach in August to the residences and businesses in the area to let them know about the final design plans. They mailed postcards in August, as well as walking door to door to businesses near the intersection to make sure they knew about the project. She’ll also reach out to the Parkrose Neighborhood Association and the Historic Parkrose District Improvement Grant committee. “From what we’ve heard, people are happy to see improvements on Sandy,” Steffen said.

Construction workers will labor during the day and night, avoiding the morning and evening rush-hour traffic congestion. “We know Sandy is a very heavily used roadway, so we want to try and minimize impacts to drivers,” Steffen said.

ODOT will set up a construction noise hotline for neighborhood residents to call 24 hours a day. Steffen will do more outreach to the neighbors next spring, informing them about the noise hotline and the exact hours construction work will occur.

Residents calling the hotline would be connected to an operator who is a “live person who they would talk to right away,” Steffen said. “The operator will take their contact information and the concern they have. Then that would go to our construction crew immediately. Because we’re trying to avoid the rush hours, that wouldn’t give us a lot of time the rest of the day to work. So there will be noise impacts. We try to weigh those impacts to the residents with the mobility of getting cars around on Sandy during the busiest times of day.” For more information, contact Steffen at or call her at 503-731-8230.