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Crocker Lane will be closed to through traffic between Meadow Wood Drive and Valley View Drive starting Monday.

David Patton, Democrat-Herald

North Albany drivers will need to route around a portion of Crocker Lane for the next several months, starting Monday.

Crocker Lane will be closed to through traffic from Meadow Wood Drive north to Valley View Drive, about four-tenths of a mile, to allow crews to reconstruct the roadway and upgrade underground utilities. Work is scheduled to be finished in early November.

Access will be made available to travelers, including school bus drivers, who need to get to their homes or reach the side streets in the area. Through traffic on Crocker Lane will be detoured via Gibson Hill Road and Scenic Drive.

The reconstruction project will include the resurfacing of Crocker Lane and the addition of curbs, gutters, storm drains and sidewalks.

The contractor for the project is Carter & Company Inc. of Salem, and the estimated price is $2.5 million, said Chris Cerklewski, city engineer.

Payment for the project is coming from a combination of fees from the developer and builder and contributions from Benton County and the city of Albany. City officials initially had proposed a payment plan through a Local Improvement District that homeowners would fund, but reversed course in 2015 following a storm of protest. 

Crocker currently belongs to Benton County, but under an intergovernmental agreement, the portion of road to be improved will be transferred to Albany on completion and will be Albany's responsibility going forward.

Work on the south end of Crocker has been talked about but not yet planned or funded. 

Jeff Blaine, Public Works Engineering and Community Development director, said the next major road in North Albany to be improved will be Gibson Hill Road. Once the Gibson Hill Road improvements are complete and the transfer from Benton County to the city is made, the work on the rest of Crocker will be discussed.

"County and city staff are both interested in seeing Crocker improved, but funding for street improvements is a significant challenge," Blaine wrote in an email to city staff.

Ron Irish, the city's transportation systems analyst, gave a report to city officials in 2015 saying reconstruction on Crocker was necessary because of continued development in the area.

When Crocker was first put in it was made to rural standards, meaning it was built with ditches rather than sidewalks and given a rural speed limit of 45 mph.

But after North Albany was annexed, development soared. Traffic that was once measured at an average of 1,600 trips per day on Crocker Lane just south of Valley View Drive has now almost doubled, Irish said.

Right now, no changes are planned to the speed limit on Crocker once the reconstructed area has been completed, but Irish told councilors the city has a better chance of petitioning the Oregon Department of Transportation for a speed reduction with an urban street.

For more information about the reconstruction project, contact Public Works Engineering at 541-917-7676.


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