Hood River City Council gave staff permission last month to take the next step toward fulfilling the long-awaited revisions to one of the city’s busiest intersections, Rand and W. Cascade.
The project, adjacent to Walmart store, also affects Wasco Avenue, which intersects on the north side of Cascade.
Council authorized City Manager Rachael Fuller to effect a purchase order to Oregon Department of Transportation to increase the city’s share of preliminary engineering to $514,523.53 and to increase the City’s share of the right-of-way cost to $807,261.47 for Cascade and Rand.
Plans for the long-awaited project are done under an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between the city, which has jurisdiction on Cascade and Wasco streets and ODOT, which has jurisdiction on Cascade Avenue.
The IGA was made in July 2017 for the design and construction of Cascade and Rand traffic intersection, a design and reconstruction challenge that the city has been working to fund and achieve for more than a decade.
“This project is an important component of the city’s planned transportation capital improvements,” Fuller said. “It will realign the Rand/Cascade intersection, provide a true pedestrian crossing and signalize the intersection.”
The city is proceeding with preliminary design of the Rand/Cascade intersection, and Fuller said, “the project and available funding will be revisited when we receive updated construction costs based on the preliminary design. The city has the option of pausing the project at that point to seek additional outside funding.”
The current estimate for preliminary engineering is $1,006,785. Under the 2017 IGA, any cost increase is absorbed by the city. This results in an increased cost to the city of $458,182 for a total preliminary engineering cost to the city of $514,523.53. A re-design is under way to reduce the width of Wasco and the associated impacts to the 72 adjacent properties. 
In 2017, the total project cost was estimated at $2,375,111, with ODOT contributing $750,000 and the City of Hood River funding the remainder.
The total cost to the city was estimated at $1,625,111, with these funds coming out of Road System Development Charges (SDC) over a period of three years.
Construction costs under the IGA were estimated in 2017 at $1,391,508, funded entirely by the city. In other costs under the IGA, right-of-way (ROW) acquisition was estimated at $435,000 — ODOT to pay $257,738.53 and the city $177,261.47.
According to Fuller, ROW acquisition estimates have increased significantly.  The current estimate is $1,065,000. This increases the City’s share by $630,000 (from $177,261.47 to $807,261.47).
It is unknown how much the redesign may reduce construction and right-of-way costs, according to Fuller; the city expects to received updated costs in the next two months.
“Staff will continue to monitor project costs throughout the design and right-of-way acquisition phases.  The city may elect to postpone construction until additional funding can be secured,” she said.

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