Traffic Changes Slated for NE 181st Ave: Spring 2009

Traffic Changes Slated for NE 181st Ave Corridor, City 'Signals' Relief Is On The Way!; Spring 2009.

Traffic 'Near Capacity' On The
NE 181st Ave Corridor.
City 'Signals' Relief Is On The Way!

Ask any rush hour commuter traveling NE 181st Ave in Gresham and they will tell you, traffic congestion between Interstate 84 and NE Halsey St is miserable. In fact at times, it's just downright unbearable!

Over the past few years the increased population and business growth in west Gresham has outpaced the ability of the NE 181st Ave corridor to efficiently handle the additional traffic between the I-84 freeway ramps and the Powell Butte area.

Frustrated commuters rejoice, change is coming!

The City of Gresham Dept of Public Affairs has announced a plan to reduce traffic congestion on NE 181st Ave between NE Sandy Blvd and NE Halsey St. The proposed changes are scheduled to begin spring 2009, and be completed before summer. Changes include installing new state-of-the-art computer-controlled traffic signals, prohibiting southbound U-turn's at NE San Rafael St, eliminating a crosswalk across NE 181st Ave, plus several other changes in hope of improving the flow of traffic along this particularly busy section of the NE 181st Ave corridor.

A public meeting on the proposed changes will likely be held in early to mid-September according to Jill Bradley with the City of Gresham Dept of Public Affairs. Citizens will have an opportunity at that time to comment on this project .

Here is a brief description of the project as it’s currently planned:

Project Description/Background

Traffic management needs improving on Northeast 181st Avenue near I-84 and the San Rafael industrial district in North Rockwood. Traffic is congested, especially in the evening commute, and industrial businesses have expressed concern regarding the traffic delays in getting trucks on and off the freeway.

Traffic studies indicate the intersections on NE 181st Avenue between the freeway ramps and NE Halsey Street are near capacity during the p.m. rush hour. Major widening of the corridor is too costly to consider at this time, however.

The project will upgrade the seven traffic signals on the 181st corridor between Northeast Halsey Street and Northeast Sandy Boulevard, including the ODOT signals at the Interstate 84 freeway ramps. The City will install new state-of-the-art, computer-controlled traffic signals running SCATS (Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System), which has been successfully implemented on the Burnside Road corridor east of NW Eastman Parkway. In addition to the new signals there will be changes at the congested Northeast San Rafael Street intersection to improve efficiency: the southbound U-turn will be prohibited, the westbound right-turn-on-red restriction will be lifted, and the crosswalk over 181st on the north side of San Rafael will be closed. Because of the unusual signal phasing that is required at the San Rafael intersection, having two crosswalks over 181st can significantly reduce the efficiency of the intersection.

Origin of Funding/Project Money

Urban Renewal is contributing $170,000 toward the signal installation. Developers have directly contributed $30,000 to the project.

Project Timeline/Contractor’s Schedule

Work is scheduled to begin on the SCATS signal improvements in spring 2009, with completion before summer.

For more information contact Dave Rouse, City of Gresham, Dept of Environmental Services, 1333 NW Eastman Pkwy, Gresham, OR 97030, Phone: (503) 618-2430, Fax: (503) 661-5927, or email

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