After nearly 10 months of construction and months of delays, the intersection at Neff Road and NE Purcell Blvd. in Bend is back open. The intersection near St. Charles Medical Center and Pilot Butte Middle School opened at 11:30 a.m. Monday with workers removing barriers.
For many in Bend, it is part of a daily commute or an artery to goods and services. For Sopa Food Truck Owner Cristhofer Plascencia, it’s everything.
“There was less frequency of cars, less people coming in,” he said.
He’s now seeing more of the good kind of traffic, passing his food truck which sits on Purcell Blvd at River’s Place.
The opening also means he can once again take direct routes between his truck, his home and his supply store.
“Now it’s much, much easier,” he said. “I can go to my grocery store straight, I don’t have to go around Pilot Butte. Saves me money, saves me gas.”
The project included underground utility improvements, a signal replacement, and bike lanes.
“In order to accomplish all of this, we did have to widen the whole intersection and lift it up about six feet vertically to help flatten it or level it,” said Jason Suhr, chief engineer for the City of Bend.
Work alongside the intersection is set to continue.
“We do ask the public to be cautious of crews in the area as we do finish the miscellaneous work,” Suhr said. “That work is hopefully to be completed by the end of this month.”
The intersection closed back on February 22 and now months after its original projected finish, Plascencia can use it once again.
“The thing there was closed for a long, long time,” he said.
The project was initially supposed to wrap up last summer, but it was delayed after the City said workers found old, unmapped infrastructure remnants, gas, communication and power lines deep under the road.
“In addition to the intersection, the project includes completing a modernized Purcell Boulevard from Full Moon Drive to Courtney Drive, including widening the roadway, building sidewalks, and also adding bike lanes on Purcell Boulevard between Butler Market Road and Robinson Street. The Purcell extension is anticipated to open late December, connecting Purcell between Neff and Butler Market,” the City said in a statement. “Travelers accustomed to using Daggett Lane for cross-town travel will be able to instead use Purcell, a collector street designed for higher traffic volumes. Please drive slowly and stay alert: this new section of Purcell is a residential collector road with a 25 mph speed limit.”