It’s been 15 years and a lot of controversy, but the rebuilding of Railroad Street in Brookings is finally finished.

“Fifteen years ago, the state said we want a couplet because Highway 101 is not safe anymore,” said Brookings City Councilor Ron Hedenskog during a regular meeting Monday. “You can’t imagine the controversy that came out of that.”

A vote of the public killed the idea of a couplet — major roads running in opposite directions, such as is done on U.S. Highway 101 in Crescent City — and “ODOT made Brookings their target enemy,” Hedenskog joked. “It didn’t seem like we got many favors from ODOT until we got past that.”

As an alternative, the city and ODOT formulated the plan to rebuild Railroad Street to ease traffic on Chetco Avenue and provide an alternative route for locals trying to avoid the main road through town. Work involved replacing pipes below the road, widening the road to include a center-turn lane, reconfiguring parking, building sidewalks and installing streetlights and creating a bike-friendly atmosphere.

“It wasn’t cheap,” Hedenskog said of the multi-million-dollar project. “And it’s been a long time coming.”

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