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Downing Street extension to ease North Bend traffic pressure

The safety of his customers has always been a priority for North Bend QFC manager Bill Weller.

So when cars began using the supermarket parking lot as a default short cut from Second Street to North Bend Way, Weller was left with the burden of more traffic and a very busy parking lot for his patrons.

The city of North Bend has long known of the problem. Now, they now are doing Weller and local drivers a favor by creating a bypass in the neighborhood.

Beginning in early July, the city has begun construction to extend Downing Avenue between North Bend Way and Second Street.

The extension will benefit more than just QFC shoppers. Parents and bus drivers at North Bend Elementary will now have a more direct route to school.

North Bend City Administrator Duncan Wilson said the extension will relieve pressure at Bendigo Boulevard and North Bend Way.

"It allows people to turn off Bendigo onto Park, get to the other side of town from a different route and avoid the congestion of 202," he said.

One building in the construction route has been demolished. The second building, on the Alpine Chiropractic Property, will be moved near the North Bend Sewer Treatment Plant; moving costs were paid for by the Valley-based non-profit Network Services.

"At the last minute, Network Services said, 'Don't tear it down, save it,'" North Bend City Administrator Duncan Wilson said. "They paid to move it; the city is going to put together a lease agreement to use it for non-profit purposes for the next five years."

Network Services plans to use the building as a shelter for disadvantaged families.

Construction will not affect the road until the final tie-in on North Bend Way. Most work will be on Second Street and North Bend Way.

"I think it's a good plan," Weller said, "just for the fact that it gets so congested in the parking lot. It gets dangerous for the pedestrian traffic

"It will be a good flow for the community."

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