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Councilors To Discuss Process For Empire Ave. Work

BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors will vote Wednesday on a special contracting process that could advance plans for a new roundabout at Empire and Purcell. Sinclair Burr, the city’s project manager, tells KBND News, "With ‘Progressive Design-Build,’ we get to a certain point in a design where we feel comfortable asking our design builder – who’s a contractor and consultant together – to just begin construction. And then, design and construction work in parallel at that point, so we save months of time."


City Engineer George Franklet says, "There are, additionally, a number of projects that are related to that, as well. And, part of the procurement that we’re going to Council with on Wednesday, is to essentially prioritize those other projects and put them together in a way that would make sense to proceed with improvements beyond the roundabout." Project Manager Burr says construction of the roundabout could begin as soon as next fall, "We’re not exactly sure where that roundabout is going to be located along that alignment; we’re trying to figure that out right now. The other interrelated projects, being the extension of Empire, the modernization of Empire and Purcell (pictured) and the roundabout at 27th, Butler [Market] and the future Empire, all those will start in probably 2019." That "modernization" could include more sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as extending Empire to 27th Street. 


The proposal does not include changes to Empire to accommodate more traffic that's expected once a large apartment complex opens, west of NE 18th. Burr says, "We understand that that section of Empire, between 18th and Boyd Acres, is also probably going to be a deficiency. But, it’s just not as high on the priority list." He tells KBND News improving the Empire corridor east of NE 18th has been in the works for a long time. "We’ve identified the need to have a better connection from east to west that is a different alternative to Butler Market. The original project started in 2006; due to the recession, it was canceled back then."

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