Banks, Construction, Traffic

Online open house for traffic signal proposal at north end of Banks accepting comments through May 31

Image of the project courtesy Washington County LUT

The most complex intersection in Banks, located at the north end of town, has been eyed for a redesign for years — an open house was held in Banks in December of 2017 to explore three design options — and plans are firming up to tackle the complex project. 

Currently, the intersection consists of a four-way stop, and adjacent to it, a crossing guard for the railroad that also crosses Banks Road. 

“We expect the number of vehicles using this intersection to more than double by 2040. Without improvements, traffic queues and wait times will cause long delays,” a description on an online open house launched by Washington County Land Use & Transportation for the project reads. 

The open house will be open for comments through May 31. 

Main Street isn’t just Banks’ Main Street. It’s also Highway 47, an Oregon Department of Transportation-maintained highway, and at the edge of city limits in Banks, it intersects with NW Cedar Canyon Road to the west. To the east, Banks Road enters city limits shortly after the intersection, after crossing a Port of Tillamook Bay-owned railroad. 

The intersection backs up to the beginning of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail trailhead and parking lot, and several businesses are located close to the road, making any redesign likely to impact nearby businesses and outdoor recreation. 

At one point, a roundabout was among the options as a possible design, but the current proposal calls for a lighted traffic signal, which would double the amount of traffic signals in Banks’ city limits. According to the project timeline, construction could start in the summer of 2022 and extend into the spring of 2023. 

Currently, the county is in the process of acquiring right-of-way from adjoining property owners to make the project — which will widen the intersection — possible.

Leave a comment for the project design team on the “Comment Here” page on the project open house. 

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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