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County to close Hubbard Bridge starting Monday (copy)

The Hubbard Bridge near Monroe has been closed since 2014. Repairing or replacing the bridge is among the infrastructure projects included in a draft update of the county's transportation system plan.

The Benton County commissioners got a look at a draft of the county’s transportation system plan update at their morning work session on Tuesday.

County staffers and consultants working on the project gave an extensive presentation on the draft update, which runs to 94 pages.

State law requires local jurisdictions to maintain a long-range transportation plan and update it periodically. The county’s current plan was adopted in 2001 and was last updated in 2006.

The update lays out a map for maintaining and improving the county’s transportation infrastructure through the year 2040, based on the current state of the system and anticipated growth. It applies only to the unincorporated parts of the county; Corvallis and other municipalities have their own transportation system plans, which are currently being updated.

The project team has been working on the update since spring of last year, holding committee meetings and soliciting public input through community workshops and surveys. The group was also scheduled to present the draft update at a work session of the Benton County Planning Commission on Tuesday night.

A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 8 before the Planning Commission, which will then make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners about whether to adopt, reject or modify the document.

The Board of Commissioners, which has the final say on the plan update, is slated to hold a public hearing on Feb. 5.

Once an update is adopted, the county will begin the process of updating its comprehensive plan and amending its code to reflect any changes to the previous transportation system plan.

“For funding reasons we really need to have this adopted by the end of February,” County Engineer Laurel Byer told the commissioners. “Otherwise the funding goes away.”

Transportation projects outlined in the plan do not necessarily have any funding at this stage. Rather, the plan is used as a tool to prioritize projects as funding becomes available.

Among the projects contemplated in the update are wider shoulders on minor collector roads, designated freight routes and bicycle routes, and “active transportation corridors” — better known as bike paths — in some parts of the county.

DKS Associates Inc. is the consulting firm working with county staff on the transportation system plan update. The firm is being paid $286,000 for its work through a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. DKS is being paid an additional $46,900 in ODOT funds to prepare plan updates for Adair Village and Monroe, to be included as appendices in the county’s plan document.

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Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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