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Independence Looks At East-West Routes

INDEPENDENCE -- Town officials will begin determining early next year where to place future east-to-west arterial routes across the city as alternatives to Monmouth Street.

INDEPENDENCE -- Town officials will begin determining early next year where to place future east-to-west arterial routes across the city as alternatives to Monmouth Street.

This includes adding a street that runs from Corvallis Road toward the western city limits that could someday be linked to Highway 99W.

Independence received a $75,000 grant earlier this month from the Transportation Growth Management Program, an initiative run by the state's transportation and land-use planning departments.

Those funds will pay for traffic studies, consulting and necessary environmental planning on the target area for key through-streets for the city south of Monmouth Street, said Community Development Technician Shawn Irvine.

This includes 82 acres of undeveloped land south of Ninth Street near the south fork of Ash Creek that was annexed last December.

"What this is doing is identifying two or three major roads and one or two main bike routes through the area, to make sure people can get from one side of town to the other," he said.

Planning will start with wetland delineation next winter. At some point there will be advisory committees created and public forums scheduled to select routes.

A final plan would be finished by January 2012. No actual roads would be built until the residential construction in southern Independence warrants it, Irvine said.

"But if we don't set this in place, it would be up to each developer to come in and tell us where he wants to put roads," Irvine said. "We want to have a coherent transportation system."

The city's long-term transportation system plans seek a street that runs from Corvallis Road west to 16th Street, with the aim of linking it to a future Monmouth street to create a straight shot to 99W.

But it's never been determined where exactly that would be, only that it will be south of Monmouth Street.

"As the city's gotten bigger, it's been pushed farther south," Irvine said. "In fact, one initial plan was to actually come off the Independence Bridge onto I Street and straight to 99W."

Some streets, such as Mount Fir Avenue in one of the city's new subdivisions, were built large enough to accommodate bike lanes and are already candidates for arterials, Irvine said.

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