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County to close Hubbard Bridge starting Monday (copy)

The Hubbard Bridge near Monroe has been closed since 2014. Repairing or replacing the bridge is among the infrastructure projects included in the county's updated transportation system plan.

The Benton County Board of Commissioners has adopted an updated plan to guide transportation decisions in unincorporated portions of the county through 2040.

Following a brief public hearing on Tuesday, the commissioners voted 3-0 to amend the county’s comprehensive plan to include a 94-page transportation system plan prepared by DKS Associates Inc. in collaboration with county staff.

No members of the public spoke either for or against the update at the hearing.

Paid for by a $286,000 Oregon Department of Transportation grant, the plan is the result of nearly two years of work that included seven community forums and several meetings of stakeholder and technical advisory groups. It is the first update of the county’s state-mandated transportation system plan since 2001. The document also includes transportation system plan updates for the municipalities of Monroe and Adair Village, paid for under a separate $46,900 ODOT contract.

The commissioners largely followed the recommendations of the Benton County Planning Commission in adopting the plan. At the suggestion of Commissioner Xan Augerot, the board directed staff to modify the plan to include a specific reference to the county’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

While not a blueprint for transportation improvements per se, the plan lays out specific priorities for the county to address as grant money and other funding sources become available.

Among the projects added to the wish list in the latest iteration of the plan are wider shoulders on rural collector roads, designated motor freight routes and “active transportation corridors’’ — separated paths for bicyclists and pedestrians — connecting Benton County communities.

The updated plan also calls for improved public transit services linking residents to Junction City, Eugene, Harrisburg and other communities outside Benton County.

A second reading of the ordinance adopting the plan is scheduled for Feb. 19 at noon in the county boardrooms, 205 NW Monroe Ave. in Corvallis. If the second reading takes place as scheduled, the county’s comprehensive plan would be amended to include the update 30 days later, on March 21.

In other action at Tuesday's meeting, the commissioners also conducted a first reading of an ordinance to amend county code regulating so-called "tiny houses" and voted to sell a quarter-acre parcel of land to James C. Basel.

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Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald