City News

City lands $13.2 million from feds for McGilchrist improvements

Salem is getting millions from the federal Department of Transportation to add sidewalks, turn lanes and stormwater drainage to Southeast McGilchrist Street.

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced a $13.2 million grant for the project. It’s one of three road projects funded in Oregon this year under the federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program to help modernize roadways and improve sustainability.

The improvements will cover about 8,500 feet of road, adding bike lanes and improving the railroad crossing, according to the federal announcement. It will also add two creek crossings and a new traffic signal.

City officials expect the project to spur development in the area, calling the road’s current “abysmal” condition a major barrier.

The street “lacks sufficient width to accommodate current traffic volumes, freight movement, people walking and bicycling, and stormwater drainage. There are no facilities for people walking or bicycling and the roadway is subject to frequent flooding associated with two undersized creek crossings and inadequate drainage,” according to a description of the project on the city’s website.

The city already has improvements underway along McGilchrist from Southeast 12th to 22nd streets. That includes a realignment of the 22nd Street intersection to be built in 2023, as well as design and securing right-of-way.

The project is listed in the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan at a total cost of $19.94 million, including $4.5 million already spent. The remaining money will come from the city’s utility fund and Urban Renewal Agency, the plan says.

Salem has sought the federal grant for the project five other times before this successful application, city public works spokesman Trevor Smith said. City councilors included money to complete the project in the infrastructure bond, which voters will consider in November. Smith said with the federal money, if the bond passes the city council will be able to reallocate that funding to other projects or reserve some of it as contingency for price increases.

Construction on the federally-funded improvements is expected to begin in 2025.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter starting at $5 a month. Click I want to subscribe! 

The City of Salem will receive $13.2 million to fund construction for the McGilchrist Complete Street Project, which will make improvements on approximately 8,500 feet of roadway. The project will add cycle tracks, sidewalks, and turn lanes. It will also reconstruct existing travel lanes, build Green Stormwater Infrastructure, add two creek crossings, an improved railroad crossing, a new traffic signal and traffic signal reconstruction, and street lighting. The project will make it safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. The project will support transportation options such as walking, biking, and transit, and make it easier for residents to access jobs and other essential destinations.   

Design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction to improve McGilchrist St SE to minor arterial standards with proper travel lane
widths, bike lanes, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and drainage systems. This project includes federal funding (RAISE Grant) and
provides for City match funding and anticipated federal grant reimbursement of City expenses. RAISE Grant funding for this project is
subject to award of grant. For additional McGilchrist St SE improvements see Project Number 0001040.

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.