PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Cornelius Pass Road, a popular shortcut for commuters between Washington County and Northwest Portland closed Monday for dramatic improvements.
The improvements are focused on areas where crashes occur. They involve straightening out some of the sharp curves, increasing sight distances for drivers and adding guardrails in a project that is scheduled to last just under 3 months.
Cornelius Pass Road started out largely as a lightly traveled rural road straddling both sides of the West Hills. In the intervening years, traffic volumes on this curvy and winding connector between the job centers of Washington County and Portland and Vancouver have soared.
“We’ve had a long history of crashes on Cornelius Pass Road including fatal car crashes and the funding for the project is the result of a teenager from Scappoose who died on the road a number of years ago,” said Multnomah County’s Mike Pullen. “Through a variety of twists and turns we’re finally able to get to this project. It’s largely the result of a number of very serious crashes.”
The road’s history is rife with accidents involving cars and trucks unable to navigate sharp hairpin turns. The $5.5 million project focuses on straightening out some of the sharper turns.
The closure to through-traffic begins early Monday morning from Highway 30 to Old Cornelius Pass Road on the Washington County side. One detour will route cars onto Newberry Road onto Skyline down into Washington County using NW Old Cornelius Pass Road.
It’s a project that’ll improve driving and safety on an increasingly populated section of road with a deadly history.
Workers hope to have the new and improved Cornelius Pass Road reopened by the end of September.