Oregon Gets Millions in Federal Funds for Improvements to South Salem Street

Aug. 24, 2022
The RAISE Grant will help update McGilchrist Street to make it safer

In South Salem, Oregon, a stretch of McGilchrist Street has been an issue to the city in many ways.

The street needs to be widened in order to take on the daily traffic of the city, pedestrians and cyclists have no sidewalk, and not much of a shoulder to utilize, and the roadway is constantly flooded thanks to the lack of drainage.

Thankfully, federal funds are coming Oregon's way to make some changes.

"The primary obstacle to development in the McGilchrist Opportunity Area is the abysmal condition of McGilchrist Street," city officials said in a plan to craft a complete street on the stretch of roadway running from 12th Street to 25th Street.

City officials applied for grants six times in order to fix their streets.

After the sixth time, the city was awarded a total of $13.2 million of funds through the RAISE Discretionary Grant Fund for the McGilchrist Complete Street Project. It was one of three projects chosen in Oregon to receive the funding. The other two were the Beaverton Downtown Loop complete Streets Project, and the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge.

The project is expected to improve roughly 8,500 feet of roadway.

“For 15 years residents of Salem have been working to get this project funding," said Interim City Manager Kristin Retherford. "The impacts of this investment will be felt quickly as new developments are already beginning to take shape along McGilchrist St."

The funding is part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“I know firsthand how Salem has long needed this federal investment to improve and update McGilchrist Street so residents and commuters can have a safe and modern transportation artery,” Wyden said in a statement. “I’m gratified the years of teamwork with city officials have paid off."

According to city officials, developments for the project are underway. Currently, they are finalizing the design of phase 1, which includes the realignment of the 22nd Street intersection to be constructed in summer 2023.

Phase 2 and 3 will be funded by the RAISE Grant, which will include additional car lanes, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and shared use paths, planting areas, environmental infrastructure, including storm water- and flood-reduction facilities, traffic signals, streetlights, and an improved rail crossing being implemented.

The estimated start date for Phase 2 and 3 is 2025.

Once constructed, the McGilchrist Complete Street Project will promote development and support the creation of new jobs that are closer to many residential areas, supporting sustainable economic development, while reducing flooding and water quality concerns in neighboring Pringle Creek, city officials said.

"Salem residents should be excited about improving commutes, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and the positive environmental impacts delivered by this project," Retherford said.

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Source: USA Today