The highly anticipated Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project is a nearly-15-year plan-in-the-making. We’ll spare you the details of its conception, but after years upon years of neighborhood advocacy in response to pedestrian-safety issues, the city approved the plan in 2014 to help create a safer corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists and automobile drivers. One element of the plan, too, would bring much needed aesthetic upgrades.
This last September, more than two years after the plan was unanimously approved by City Council, we were given an updated timeline for project construction. That update provided by PBOT (and posted here) included a spring 2017 start date. Less than two months later, a wrinkle was added to that timeline, as the city saw an infusion of cash for a more comprehensive upgrade of Foster—this infusion, specifically, would help with a much needed re-paving project east of 82nd. That added wrinkle, though, created a conflict in how money would be doled out—some from the city, some from the feds, each with their own criteria for spending. These changes (which you can read more about here), along with a new design that would make the bike lanes nearing SE 52nd more connective, led to the project being separated into two: one east of 82nd, one west. It was not feasible to do both projects simultaneously. As such, the spring start date (which would have been in the coming months) was pushed back to the end of 2017.
This is a simplified version of the project’s evolution.
Now being firmly into 2017, we thought we’d reach out to PBOT project manager, Rich Newlands, to see how solid plans were to still start construction by year’s-end. Newlands confirmed earlier reports that the city is still moving forward with the phased construction of the project, with the eastern stretch beginning this spring. Completion of that span would be in the fall.
Meanwhile, design/engineering on the western stretch (from SE 52nd to 82nd) would continue through that duration. What’s new, though, is that late-2017 will now mark when the project will go to bid. This puts anticipated construction into 2018, and Newlands suggested a conservative estimate for project start date would be early next year.
We’re not sure if this will be reassuring to our readers, or if it will push some toward guarded optimism. After 15 years in the making, it’s hard to see another delay. We’ll cross our fingers there are no more…