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‘A lot of work going on’: ODOT warns Portland drivers of ongoing delays along Hwy 217

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Drivers south of Portland may be sitting in traffic a bit longer than usual, as a major ODOT project continues to close part of Hwy 217, and ODOT warns to be prepared for future delays along the highway for the next two years.

Some progress was made Monday with the 99W off-ramp from northbound 217 reopening, but much of this will still cause delays through next week.

Drive along northbound I-5 near Tigard and you’re likely to encounter some bumper-to-bumper traffic in the righthand lanes approaching 217. The current project is squeezing northbound 217 traffic into one lane from I-5 to 99W.

"We’re going to see some nice safety shoulders in there, some auxiliary lanes. It’s going to be a much safer, smoother road, because of the work that we’re doing through the course of this week," Don Hamilton with the Oregon Dept. of Transportation said.

This particular closure, causing traffic merging from northbound I-5 to 217 to back up, is expected to last through Monday, July 31. However, it’s just one of many projects planned along other stretches of 217 — projects which ODOT says will go on through 2025 as they work to improve merging lanes and prevent bottlenecked traffic — which is crucial as Washington County continues to grow.

"We’re going to give drivers more room when they merge onto the main lane of the highway. Right now, there’s very little merging space," Hamilton said.

In addition to the 217 closure, ODOT has closures further south in West Linn until Aug. 4 as they complete a roundabout connecting OR43 to NB I-205. ODOT is asking drivers in these impacted areas to slow down and be extra cautious.

"There’s a lot of work going on everywhere in the Portland area and these projects right now are a reminder that we all have to be very careful out on the road. There’s a lot of workers on the road," Hamilton said.

Northbound 217 is expected to reopen by 5 a.m. on July 31, just in time for the morning commute. However, on Aug. 4, the 99W on-ramp to 217 North will close until Aug. 14.

Later this summer, OR 217 will go down to one lane near the Greenburg Road interchange for a weekend to reinforce the highway shoulder. At another point during the summer, there will be a full closure of 217 in one direction at a time near the Hall Boulevard interchange for multiple nights, allowing crews to install steel support beams for the widening work on the Hall Blvd. overpass. The exact dates for those projects have not yet been announced.

Source: KOIN.com

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