A house in southeast Bend was torn down Tuesday to make way for a new roundabout at the intersection of Wilson Avenue and 15th Street in Bend.
For those who travel through the intersection every day, the changes are dramatic.
The home removal marks the beginning of the second phase of improvements to the Wilson Avenue Corridor on the bustling southeast side of town.
“This area is constrained,” said Sinclair Burr, senior project engineer for the City of Bend. “We’ve got a park we can’t impact on the northwest corner. We acquired a house which we are demolishing. We’ve got some residences on the northeast corner that are hard to touch so, yea, it is a different shape or avocado shape instead of a conventional circle.”
The new roundabout will cost about $5 million. It’s more expensive than most roundabouts because of the amount of earthwork required to level the site and remove the house.
“We are going to make improvements for cars. It’s going to be safer for bikes and pedestrians to get around. We are excited to get it done,” Burr said.
Another striking visual indicator of change is the removal of a large ponderosa pine tree on the southwest corner of the intersection. Crews were careful to not drop branches on cars that continued moving through the intersection.
“In this instance, we are going to drop everything vertically to the ground,” said Brett Miller, owner of Central Oregon Tree Experts. “Sometimes we’ll zip line or lower stuff from the top. We may do that here because of the big transmission lines right there.”
Motorists should expect flaggers and short delays at the intersection the next couple of months.
Real traffic impacts will begin in late February or early March when the intersection of Wilson and 15th will be closed.
So far, everything is on schedule for the new roundabout to open by the end of April 2023.
Click here for additional information about the Wilson Avenue Corridor project.
Why roundabouts in Bend? Allen Schauffler did this story below about the history of RABs and why they are always considered in traffic projects.