Thursday, September 28, 2017

Feb 1960: Laurelhurst Freeway

12 Feb 1960, The Oregonian
Vehicles Using Portland Portals to Triple by ’75

The estimated 210,000 vehicles which entered and left the urban limits of Portland daily in 1958 will be increased almost three times, to 600,000, by 1975. W.C. Williams, state highway engineer, told the East Side Commercial Club Wednesday in the Sheraton Portland Hotel.

The year 1975 is the approximate target date for completion of the multi-million-dollar interstate freeway system in Portland. If the system is completed by that time it will carry all of the great traffic volume in and out of the city on 27 miles of freeway, Williams said.

The state’s highway construction program has been set back two years by the 1959 slowdown of federal aid funds, the State Highway Commission’s top engineer said. The setback, he said, means a reduction from the 48 million dollars expected this year for interstate highway construction to approximately 34 millions, and a slash from 20 millions for urban highway construction in Portland this year and probably next, he said.

Other projects in Portland have left the impact of the slowdown of federal aid funds. The East Bank freeway probably will be completed to a connection with the Banfield freeway in 1962. The East Bank and the Minnesota avenue freeway, completing the new Pacific highway through Portland all the way to the Columbia River, probably will be finished by 1965, he said.

The Highway Department now is buying right-of-way for the Minnesota avenue freeway the entire length of its route, but construction probably will not be started within the next two years, said Williams. The Minnesota construction will be completed before any start is made of the controversial Stadium freeway, he reported.

Williams told the East Side civic group of some other projects to be constructed on their side of town: a one-way Grand-Union avenue couplet to be connected to the new Marquam bridge, and the modernizing of SE 82nd avenue to Clackamas.

Some time in the future the Mount Hood freeway will be constructed eastward from the Marquam bridge along the general route of SE Powell boulevard, and the Laurelhurst freeway will be built, with a crossing of the Columbia River at about NE 33rd avenue, he said. (emphasis added) The Laurelhurst freeway will provide 16-foot clearance under all structures to become Portland’s only trans-city freeway to meet military specifications, presumably made with a thought to the hauling of missiles.

The state highway engineer clarified a statement he made recently on gasoline taxes which he said had been misunderstood by some persons. The Highway Department believes there will be no need to ask for an increase in state gasoline taxes to match federal aid before 1963, he reported. There will be sufficient state funds to match available federal aid money through the years 1960, 1961 and 1962, Williams asserted.

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