REDMOND — The Redmond City Council unanimously approved spending Tuesday for more sidewalks, road improvements in west Redmond and $1.5 million to increase water flow in a growing part of the city.

The city plans on adding 1,900 feet of sidewalk along the south side of state Highway 126 in west Redmond. The work will be done in two segments. The first will be from SW 31st Street to SW 35th Street, and the other will start at SW 27th Street and connect to an existing sidewalk island in the middle of the block, which is part of a housing development.

The Highway 126 sidewalks will cost an estimated $200,000, said City Engineer Mike Caccavano. The Oregon Department of Transportation is funding 50% of the project as part of its Sidewalk Investment Program.

Caccavano said construction could begin in the spring of 2020, and would take a couple months to complete.

One section of new sidewalk will be along the side of Highland Baptist Church. The church’s pastor, Barry Campbell, said many members of his congregation walk to and from services.

“Any improvements to that road, we’d be pleased with that,” he said.

Tony Pupo, Redmond School District’s executive director of operations and a former Redmond High School principal, said new Highway 126 sidewalks could also help students. Many walk to the high school from housing developments in west Redmond.

“We have lots of kids that ride bikes and walk and skateboard to school,” he said. “Anything they can do to improve access will make it a lot easier for families.”

The council also approved $64,410 to begin the design process for an overhaul of SW Wickiup Avenue in southwest Redmond. Caccavano said the street has become much busier as multiple housing developments have been built in the area. Residents nearby have repeatedly requested bike lanes and sidewalks on the street, he said, particularly so young students can easily walk or bike to nearby Sage Elementary School.

“We could’ve gotten away with just a (pavement) overlay, but we decided to bring it up to city standards with bike lanes and sidewalks because we have families up there,” he said.

City staff plan to replace SW Wickiup Avenue — which is also named SW Reservoir Drive for a few blocks — from SW 39th Street to SW 45th Street with new pavement and curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes.

Caccavano said the city will seek bids for construction for the street upgrades early in 2020, and construction could begin in spring or summer of that year. There is no official estimate for the project’s cost, but Caccavano said it will likely be around $750,000.

Weston Basil, who lives near the section of Wickiup Avenue scheduled for improvement, said he felt the sidewalks and bike lanes would make it “very convenient” for people to get to the rest of the city.

His neighbor, Jim Cornett, agreed the improvements were a smart idea. He believed the improvements would make travel safer not only for pedestrians and cyclists, but also for drivers, who wouldn’t have to dodge nonvehicles on the slim shoulders of the road.

“Not too many people walk with their dogs because the street is so narrow,” Cornett said. “It would probably help if there were bike lanes, and it would be helpful, as far as driving, to have a wider road.”

During the meeting, Mayor George Endicott said he frequently drives on that stretch of Wickiup Avenue, and remarked that “the road does need work.”

The Redmond City Council also approved the purchase of two new water pipes to help expand the city’s water system capacity. One of the pipes, a 24-inch pipe that will go under SW 43rd Street between SW Reservoir Drive and SW Badger Avenue, will cost $1 million. The second pipe, an 18-inch pipe that will go under SW Canal Boulevard from Badger Avenue to SW 30th Street, will cost $508,000.

Caccavano said these new pipes will help connect Redmond’s water system to the new South Redmond Water Facility that will be built in the next few years. The pipes are intended to increase the water system’s capacity in south Redmond, where residential and industrial development is rapidly growing.

“We want to make sure that we can get that (water) flow over there, and it just takes larger pipes,” Caccavano said.

The pipe installation will likely begin in the spring of 2020 and take three or four months, according to Caccavano. Construction may impact traffic on Canal Boulevard, he added.

Funding for the pipes comes from increased development fees that the City Council passed in June.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

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