The city of Astoria has approved the funding contract for next summer’s combined sewer overflow project that is said to be the most disruptive project the city has done.

The 11th Street CSO separation project will halt traffic on Eighth and 11th streets for as long as three months, while 8,500-feet of new stormwater pipe is established in the city’s right-of-way.

“I would like to begin by letting the citizens know this is going to be a project that’s going to cause traffic delays, going to have streets close,” Mayor Willis Van Dusen said. “This project, in my opinion, will be in the highest volume traffic area, more so than any project that we have done.

“We’ll do our best.”

The project is expected to cost more than $4 million. The Astoria City Council approved a funding package through the Infrastructure Finance Authority Monday night. That funding package includes a $500,000 grant and a $3.56 million loan with 1.94 percent interest.

The city, led by Public Works Director Ken Cook, has been working with the state of Oregon to find the best possible funding for the project, City Manager Paul Benoit said.

“Through their efforts we have been offered the grant of $500,000,” he said. The interest rate, he added, “is the best interest rate we’ve ever gotten.”

City leaders thanked Cook for his hard work.

The CSO surcharge fee will be used to repay the project loan.

The projects, which included the tank under Tapiola Field, are required by the State Department of Environmental Quality to prevent sewage from going out in to the Columbia River and Youngs Bay. The 11th Street separation project will separate the sewer from the stormwater line to prevent the two from overflowing.

The project is expected to begin in summer 2013 and will span from Eighth to 12th streets and from Duane Street to Niagara Avenue.

In other city news;

• The Astoria City Council adopted its goals for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The goals were established during the city’s goal planning session earlier this year. The goals include embracing the Astoria Column into the city’s parks department, renovations to the city’s library and the development of Heritage Square, including the Garden of Surging Waves.

• The city has received a $25,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to go towards funding for additional fundraising opportunities. Community Development Director Brett Estes said the city is working toward planning events that will hopefully raise dollars for the project.

• Community member Drew Herzig told the council the city’s underground tours were wildly popular during the free Preservation Fair May 12. He suggested the city look into doing more of them, one per month at least during the summer. “I think they’re a very popular item and I think a lot of people would be interested in taking (the tour),” he said. Estes confirmed that the tours were a big draw, with only one planned but three held because of the demand, serving 75 people. He said this may become a Lower Columbia Preservation Society event.


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