Cornelius Pass Road cleanup finished ahead of schedule

Release date: 03/26/2016
Sponsored by: Department of Land Use and Transportation, Operations and Maintenance Division
Traffic is back to normal on Cornelius Pass Road – 24 hours ahead of schedule – following cleanup of contaminated soil resulting from a gasoline spill caused when a double tanker truck overturned in January.

The southbound lane of Cornelius Pass Road, between Old Cornelius Pass and Germantown roads, closed at 7 p.m. Friday [March 25] as Kerr Contracting, a contractor hired by Washington County, began the process of cleaning up contaminated soil under the roadway. The road opened at about 7p.m. Saturday [March 26], well ahead of schedule.

The cleanup work was expected to continue through 7 p.m. Sunday [March 27]. Crews worked round the clock to remove the roadway, dig out the contaminated soil and then replace the roadway to minimize delays and inconvenience to travelers and neighboring properties.  

"It was challenging, but Kerr employees were very efficient," said Andrew Singelakis, director, LUT. "We appreciate their efforts, and we thank the public for their patience." 

On Jan. 8, a tanker truck overturned into the west ditch after a crash with a pickup truck. Washington County Department of Land Use &Transportation (LUT) and Tualatin Valley Fire &Rescue prevented the spill from contaminating groundwater. Recent testing revealed contamination under about half of the southbound travel lane. 

Singelakis said Cornelius Pass Road is not designed for heavy truck traffic. 

"Because trucks carrying hazardous materials are not allowed through the US 26 tunnel, Cornelius Pass has become a major freight and hazardous materials route between Hillsboro and Port of Portland/PDX facilities," Singelakis said. "It is a two-lane road with some sharp curves. Yet the road carries a significant amount of freight traffic."

Washington County is committed to planning, building and maintaining a great transportation system, ensuring the safety of all roadway users, and operating the County roadway system in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.

Media Contact:

Melissa De Lyser, Communications Coordinator