Start of school expected to add stress to Cornelius Pass closure

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Children, cyclists and trucks are among major concerns for drivers using detour routes through the West Hills.

Northwest Cornelius Pass Road is currently closed for safety improvements which are intended to reduce the high rate of accidents on the road as of Aug. 30, 2019. (Anna Del Savio/ Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — With school starting back up, drivers on detour routes for the Northwest Cornelius Pass Road closure north of Hillsboro will see additional traffic and safety concerns as children get on and off school buses.

Skyline Elementary School is located on Northwest Skyline Boulevard, putting it in the primary detour path.

Portland Community College’s fall session starts Sept. 23, meaning Rock Creek campus students who live north of the pass will pile onto the traffic.

The most recent updates from Multnomah County still anticipate the re-opening of Cornelius Pass Road in late September.

A Facebook group created specifically to share images and stories of poor driving on the detour routes has garnered dozens of posts, many showing trucks stuck on windy roads.

Sheriff’s deputies from Multnomah and Washington counties have issued citations for truck drivers illegally using the reroutes, but some reports suggest the truck drivers who have ended up on the detour routes are as unhappy as the drivers stuck behind them. For truck drivers who are just passing through the area, the few signs displayed on routes where trucks aren’t allowed have been easy to miss. Once on the windy roads, there’s often no way for trucks to turn around.

To report illegal truck trips, call the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office at 503-823-3333.

Large trucks on the detour routes are unable to handle the narrow, slanted roads, leading them to take over both lanes or slip off the pavement. The trucks pose an additional risk to other drivers on windy roads where oncoming traffic has limited visibility and little time to adjust to a truck that has crossed into their lane.

Bicyclists on the detour routes have also experienced added danger. First responders were called to a collision involving a cyclist on Aug. 25 on Northwest Newberry Road.

Cyclists are encouraged to avoid the roads around Newberry during the closure, though those routes have made popular rides for avid cyclists in the past.

The closure, which started in July, is the result of a $5.65 million project to make safety improvements on the high-traffic road. At points along the road, the contractor has been working to realign sharp curves to reduce crashes and improve visibility.

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