Sunny weather on Thursday found a lot of frustrated motorists idling their engines when they encountered road construction on West Cascade Avenue.
And that average 10-minute wait is expected to double next week when the Department of Oregon Transportation begins its final paving work in that area. Adam Markell, project coordinator, said damaged patches of the roadway were repaired on May 1 to ready for the new overlay. He said paving from Fifth Street to the Country Club Road intersection is expected to take about 10 days, unless there are delays brought by poor weather conditions. Immediately after the work is done on that section of the roadway, also known as State Highway 30, a few more days of paving will take place from Front Street in downtown Hood River to the intersection with Highway 35, according to Markell.
If all goes as planned, Markell said road construction along the length of Cascade Avenue will be completed and traffic flows back to normal by May 23.
Meanwhile, business owners along that corridor are remaining upbeat by focusing on the finished product and not on their lost profit margins.
“It’s definitely caused us to be slower but I think it’s a positive step and it’s going to make life a lot easier for us,” said Hoby Streich, owner of Cascade Market and the adjacent car wash.
John Kasberger, branch manager of Columbia River Bank, said foot traffic at the business was much slower than usual on Thursday. However, he said employees took the creative initiative to hang a banner on the back of the bank that alerted motorists to the unimpeded entrance from Wasco Street.
“We regret the inconvenience, but our customers are resourceful and they got their banking done,” said Kasberger.
The situation at Little Bit Ranch Supply was a little more harried, as drivers cut through the parking lot to avoid sitting in traffic backups.
With the West Cascade entrance blocked off and vehicles held up by a flagger at the Rand Road intersection, it was difficult for customers to navigate around the obstacles to gain access.
“People couldn’t get in and, if they did, they couldn’t get out,” said manager Becky Preston.
In addition to travel detours and delays brought by the work along Cascade Avenue, the City of Hood River is warning drivers to avoid Serpentine from May 5 to 15 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.
The public works crew will be installing a new 6-inch water man from Hazel Avenue and Serpentine will be closed during the posted times to accommodate that work. For more information call the city at 386-2383.