News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Moving new roundabout toward reality

The City of Sisters, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and the Sisters School District (SSD) are working together to make the proposed Highway 20/Locust roundabout a reality.

The eventual construction of the roundabout will require a right-of-way acquisition from the Sisters School District for land at the grade school that is the current site of two tennis courts. The City of Sisters is already working in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Transportation for construction of the roundabout — when funds become available — to alleviate long-standing traffic safety issues at the Highway 20/Locust intersection.

The process has already begun with the review by the City and ODOT of the 30 percent Design Acceptance Plan (DAP) provided by the ODOT Roadway Team. That review will be completed in the next 30-45 days, at which time the project team will have DAP-approvable plans ready to be submitted to the State Transportation Engineer. Those 30 percent plans establish the project footprint which defines the necessary right-of-way acquisition, a majority of which is owned by the SSD.

At last Thursday’s City Council meeting, staff was directed by Council to proceed with their discussions with Superintendent Curt Scholl and to enter into a sales agreement with the SSD to purchase the necessary right-of-way from the district.

The SSD is currently building their new Transportation Facility behind SPRD, of off Highway 242. As a part of that project, the district is required to pay approximately $34,000 in water/ sewer/transportation System Development Charges (SDCs) prior to final occupancy of the facility. In lieu of the SDC payment, the agreement between the City and SSD would allow the City to use the amount owed to the City by the district as a credit towards the cost of acquiring the right-of-way from the district. Once the property is formally appraised, any amount over or under the appraised value would be paid by the responsible party.

Moving ahead with the agreement and third-party appraisal will keep both the City and the SSD on schedule to finalize the property acquisition in the current FY20/21 and allow the project the ability to start aggressively soliciting for construction funding. The City/ODOT partnership hopes that a combination of grants and other funding avenues will be able to cover the cost of construction. The City has already paid for the 30 percent DAP.


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