WETLANDS alternative - three options
$17 million, $88 million, $169 million

for WEP
West Eugene Parkway
assumes Peak Oil will not impact transportation
$17 million option

If Peak Oil is here or near
$88 million option:

if Peak Oil is not yet here
new Draft EIS with scoping of alternatives to meet legal requirements to include BLM in the scoping required as a “cooperating agency” A Categorical Exclusion might be adequate for safety and modest capacity fixes to existing roads, and modest new roads revise 1995 Beltline Environmental Assessment to construct "Phase 3" (Beltline to interstate standards to West 11th), modification of EA needed to move WEP / Beltline interchange to Roosevelt Blvd


Alternative Options $17 million $88 million $169 million


Peak Oil, Highway Budgets and Traffic Demands

Peak Oil is here, and traffic congestion has peaked.

The end of cheap oil will prevent additional funding for road expansion.

Peak Oil is not yet here and traffic will continue to increase for a few more years.

Continued cheap oil will generate more highway funds.

TransPlan budgetary priorities are realistic. Long term financial assumptions will not be impacted by energy shortages.
Legal Requirements Categorical Exclusion is possibly all that is needed Revise 1995 Beltline Environmental Assessmenent, no new EIS needed
de minimus impact for Section 4(f) land
at corner of West 11th and Beltline (BLM agreed to this as WEP substitute on June 19, 2001)
same as $88 million, possibly an extra Environmental Assessment for adding shoulders to Oregon 126 from Goble Lane to Veneta
Roosevelt to 11th
add median strip for safety (sufficient for capacity if Peak Oil is here) four lane widening (needed for capacity increases if Peak Oil is not yet here) same as $88 million option
Beltline / Roosevelt intersection add turn lanes (right turn from Roosevelt to Beltline) grade separated interchange same as $88 million option
Beltline / West 11th intersection add turn lanes (double left from Beltline to eastbound 11 and from West 11th to northbound Beltline) flyover ramp from West 11th to Beltline, ramp from southbound Beltline to westbound 11th (similar to ramps at 126 / Main Street in east Springfield) same as $88 million option
Roosevelt / 99 intersection add second turn lane from northbound Highway 99 to westbound Roosevelt larger expansion of intersection, reconstruct 99 from Garfield to Roosevelt, replace cracked railroad bridge, extra turn lanes at Garfield same as $88 million option
bicycle paths and lanes better bicycle path crossings of roads on Amazon path, bike path from 5th / Bailey Hill to Wallis Street, add bicycle bridge from Amazon path to Commercial Street (near Target store) extend Amazon bike path to Fern Ridge, connect Amazon path in West Eugene Wetlands to riverfront Greenway path, shoulder addition and left turn from west 11th to Nielson Road for bypassing 126 as bike route to Veneta addition of shoulder on 126 to Veneta would improve cycling safety
new roads
in Industrial Area
add traffic lights (First / Bertelsen, Fifth / Seneca), construct First / Second connector from First and Seneca to Highway 99 and then to Second and Garfield (would require new light on 99, which could be synchronized with 99 / 5th intersection) same as $17 million option same as $17 million option
West 11th
Terry to Green Hill
add median strip and shoulders for safety four lane widening, try not to displace Diess Feed business four lane widening plus interchange at Green Hill (ODOT fall-back option mentioned in October 2001)
West 11th
Beltline to Chambers
intersection repairs: turn lanes, crosswalks, consolidate driveways, traffic light timing same as $17 million option same as $17 million option
Highway 126
Eugene to Veneta
not enough money add shoulder in narrow section, add passing lanes same as $88 million option?
Highway 126
Veneta to Florence
not enough money maybe a small safety project safety projects - shoulders, passing lanes
Bus Rapid Transit
for west Eugene
not enough money maybe a small amount toward BRT on 99 or along West 11th, improved neighborhood service, land use shifts to make West 11th more mixed-use BRT on 99 and West 11th
Eugene to Portland
not enough money not enough money $169 million would pay for grade separation of some road crossings from Eugene to Portland (needed for faster train service) and possibly track work repairs. Adding a parallel passenger-only track is the ideal solution.


Three options for the WEP alternative:
$17 million, $88 million, $169 million
rough estimates of what could be done instead of WEP


$17 million for WEP - WETLANDS alternative option 1

$17 million is the sum of money that was allocated toward the initial phase of WEP construction perhaps six years ago. It is the only appropriate amount that is guaranteed, and the money has been held year after year for WEP Phase 1A despite numerous threats from ODOT that the project needed to be approved immediately or the money would be sent to other parts of Oregon.

WETLANDS alternative 1 is predicated on Peak Oil being here and therefore further growth in traffic demand is unlikely.

$17 million would be almost enough to construct some modest safety and efficiency improvements to the west Eugene road network,

West 11th intersection repairs. The cost to fix intersections on West 11th from Beltline to Chambers Street has been informally estimated as perhaps $2 million. This is about the same amount of money that ODOT is spending to complete the Supplemental Final EIS.

Safety fixes on Beltline, This would not add capacity to Beltline between Roosevelt and West 11th, but it would add a median strip to provide additional safety buffers (between northbound and southbound traffic), including a wider cross section for the bridge over the railroad. Extra turn lanes at West 11th and Beltline would be built. The cost of this construction is unknown, but a couple million dollars is a reasonable estimate considering the various projections for the cost to construct Beltline Phase 3 as approved in the 1995 Beltline Environmental Assessment.
Scaling back Beltline Phase 3 (as approved in 1995) to keep the road two lanes (plus median) between Roosevelt and West 11th (but extra turn lanes at West 11th) would be sufficient for traffic capacity if Peak Oil is here (and not a few years in the future). This is the core difference between WETLANDS alternative options 1 and 2.

Roosevelt / 99 intersection. This intersection needs (at least) an extra left turn lane from northbound 99 to westbound Roosevelt. This could cost several hundred thousand dollars, since there would be some right of way impacts (taking land from nearby parking lots).

Fix local street network in industrial zone. A few minor tweaks to the street network would improve connectivity.

The WETLANDS alternative would add traffic lights at 5th and Seneca and First and Bertelsen, which would solve some peak traffic flow bottlenecks. (These locations are not busy at most off-peak hours.) This might cost a quarter million dollars.

The First - Second connector, a new arterial road between First at Seneca and Second at Garfield would be constructed, providing connectivity to the state highway network for the industrial zone. The connector would include a new light at Highway 99, which would be synchronized with the existing Highway 99 / 5th Avenue light to prevent further congestion on Highway 99. Second and Garfield is a prime redevelopment area, and could be an ideal location for a new hospital, since it is centrally located. This might cost several hundred thousand dollars.

Two new roads could connect northwest Eugene with the River Road neighborhood: Barger Road Extended to Northwest Expressway, and a Bethel to Northwest Expressway connector (over the railroad yard, especially if Union Pacific scales back its operations). The cost and exact designs on this proposal are speculative at this time.

A couple of modest bicycle path improvements would help facilitate improved non-motorized transportation, including better crossings of the Amazon path throughout west Eugene, a connector using a combination of off-street bike paths and on-street bike lanes could be achieved between the Amazon and Riverfront paths, and an extension of the Amazon path to Fern Ridge (but with cheaper bridges than the overbuilt structures of the most recent segment of the Amazon path to Green Hill Road).

If all of these components are built, there might be some money left over for sidewalks and a shoulder on west 11th from Terry Street to Green Hill Road (the Urban Growth Boundary).


$88 million for WEP -- WETLANDS alternative option 2

$88 million is the price tag cited by Parkway supporters during the 2001 referendum. While this figure omitted core parts of the full project (such as the WEP / Beltline interchange), it was a reference point for many WEP supporters and opponents.

$88 million would be sufficient to build all of the $17 million option, plus

Beltline Phase 3: interchange at Roosevelt, four lane widening of Beltline from Roosevelt to West 11th. Several different figures are available for this cost. The $17 million figure is outdated and too low. A more reliable figure is $25 million. A 2004 figure in the Regional Transportation Plan is higher still, but that includes the complications of traffic management during construction of the WEP / Beltline interchange. No cost estimate is available for the phasing of construction of a Roosevelt / Beltline interchange or a flyover ramp from west 11th to Beltline.

The reconstruction of Highway 99 from Garfield to Roosevelt is in the "Future" list. This was estimated many years ago to be about $5 million, but it would probably be more than that (it would require replacement of the 99 overpass over the railroad tracks).

Widen West 11th from Terry Street to Green Hill. This was $5.5 million when it was "futured" from the TransPlan in 2002. If this widening is done, it would be nice not to destroy / displace the Diess Feed farm store, since a vibrant local food industry requires businesses that cater to farmers and gardeners who are vital for community food security.

There might be enough money left over for adding a shoulder on West 11th / Oregon 126 to Veneta, perhaps also a passing lane (in between the aquatic sections on the road). This would need very careful design and construction to mitigate the severe impacts that this would cause.

There might also be money left over for Bus Rapid Transit on Highway 99 and / or near West 11th.


$169 million - the 2004 official price tag for the WEP

$169 million is the official WEP cost that was unveiled in late 2004, as Mayor Jim Torrey left office. If this money is really available, it could be used toward a combination of the following possibilities:

All of the components of the $88 million option, plus,

cost overruns for components of the $88 million option (especially a shoulder on Highway 126 from Green Hill Road to Veneta)

Safety work on Highway 126 through the Coast Range.

Seismic safety repairs to important bridges, especially on I-5, Beltline and other primary roads.

Complete the Bus Rapid Transit network, ensure funding of neighborhood buses (which will be more needed after Peak Oil)

Part of the funds for upgrading Amtrak to higher speed service between Eugene and Portland. Some of the local components would include grade separation of road crossings and possibly addition of an extra rail line dedicated for passenger service at the most congested components. A full analysis of this is beyond the scope of the WETLANDS alternative.

Ultimately, the most important infrastructure investment for the Eugene area will be repairs to dangerous dams that do not meet modern seismic safety criteria, since if they are damaged in the inevitable earthquake there would be many billions of dollars of damage to the road network, the downtowns, businesses, homes and probably many thousands of deaths.