Powell will get three lighted crosswalks to improve safety

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Transportation will be putting in three lighted crosswalks on Southeast Powell Boulevard.

They will look a lot like the one on Southeast 82nd Avenue and Francis, where a 10-year-old boy accidentally stepped in front of a car on the Fourth of July. At that crosswalk there are buttons to activate flashers and a recorded warning.

The boy, Peter Chen, is now walking on his own and could go home from the hospital in a couple of days. A family member told KATU that the worst injury he is dealing with right now is the loss of his two front teeth.

The three new crosswalks for Powell will be at 119th, 141st and 156th.

ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton says Powell Boulevard needs help too.

"This is a difficult area around in there. There're eight intersections in this stretch of road that are among the highest crash sites in the region," he said.

According to ODOT, the crosswalks on Powell will cost $15,000 apiece.

That's cheaper than the crosswalk on Southwest Barbur Boulevard near Hamilton Street. It cost about $35,000. It's more expensive because it has advanced warning lights placed before the crosswalk - about the length of two football fields.

It also has overhead flashers, which won't be put in on Powell and don't exist at 82nd.

This week ODOT will go back to 82nd - where Chen was hit - to investigate whether it needs brighter lights or other fixes.

"Over the course of this, we'll be checking visibility, we'll be checking it, hopefully, at different times of day and under different conditions as well," Hamilton said.

The crosswalk that's going in at 119th and Powell is part of a $5 million paving and widening project stretching more than 60 blocks. Construction started Monday night.

People who live along the construction area might want to buy some earplugs as most of the jackhammering and pavement cutting will happen on the night shift.

The project should be done by October.