Vote looms over Cornelius Pass Road project funding

Multnomah County

Decision will come as a new months-long closure is about to start

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County commissioners are meeting Thursday to vote on approving more money for Cornelius Pass Road construction.

​The decision will come as a new months-long closure is about to start. Cornelius Pass is a critical route — being one of the only ways to get over the West Hills from Portland into Washington County. ​It’s the main road for trucks — and has a long history of crashes and rollovers.​

Multnomah County closed down Cornelius Pass for months last summer, and are planning on closing it again soon — from July 13th through the end of September. The section between Highway 30 and Skyline would be shut down.

According to Thursday’s agenda, Multnomah County commissioners will vote on having to spend about $175,000 more to finish the project. ​

“I think it’s fair to say that the $5 million that came from the state is not enough, and I think the rest of the money will need to come from Multnomah County,” Multnomah County spokesperson Mike Pullen said.

“The project is taking longer than we thought and it is proving to be more expensive than we thought, but in the end, it is going to make the road safer.”​

He says within the next year or so, the Oregon Department of Transportation is slated to take over responsibility for Cornelius Pass Road and maintain it as a state highway, taking financial pressure off the county. ​

The good news: if you are a commuter in a regular vehicle, this summer’s detour is much shorter than last time. It’s about half as long. ​

Unfortunately, if you’re in a semi-truck, you have the same long detour as last summer down Highway 26. ​Fuel trucks have an even longer detour to Highway 217 because they can’t go through the tunnel.​

There are a few companies who this construction really impacts, but it doesn’t hurt as many commuters this year.

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