The area near Interstate 205 along OR 212/224 has long been one of the most congested spots in the Portland area. Commuters and truck drivers are frustrated by peak period speeds that drop as low as 4 mph.
Traffic frustrations are particularly severe for Safeway and Fred Meyer, which both have distribution centers along OR 212/224. The consequences of getting stuck in traffic are expensive: spoiled produce is a real threat.
The less time big delivery trucks spend in traffic, the faster food can reach grocery store shelves.
“This project is absolutely critical to the 1,000 Fred Meyer employees and contractors in the area,” says Melinda Merrill, public affairs director for the grocery giant. “This company moves more than 1,500 trucks in and out of our distribution center every day.”
The project also creates many benefits for nearby businesses and residents. The new four-lane highway connecting I-205 with SE 122nd Avenue reduces congestion, increases safety and creates new opportunities for economic development. More than 1 million hours of congestion will be reduced each year.
The project came together after decades of discussion; by the 2013 groundbreaking, it enjoyed support from many state and local elected officials.
“We have worked hard over the last few years to make this project happen,” Merrill says. “We want to remain a vital part of the community for our employees, our contractors and for the neighborhood.”