Moving Ahead Fall/Winter 2019

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A Mail Tribune Advertising Department publication

Ready for the


Get prepared at


Grants Pass Pedestrian Improvements


Josephine Community Transit


Winter Driving


Redwood Highway Safety


The Deal with Real ID


November 15, 2019


Winter Preview ‘Tis the season for shorter days and cooler temperatures – better known as winter. The National Weather Service says this winter will be hard to predict. Meteorologist Ryan Sandler said we may have a “La Nada,” better known as nothing or neutral conditions instead of the typical El Nino or La Nina. Still, are you ready? Is your vehicle? We typically devote much of the late year edition of Moving Ahead to being a useful tool for readers, with checklists for you and your vehicles so everyone can be safe and winter ready. Inside, we’ll also explain the various tools we use – including Bulldog and the Tasmanian Devil – to keep the state’s highways open and passable. But we truly can’t do any of this without drivers like you being responsible team players. Check tires, wipers, heaters, lights and defrosters to make sure they’re in good working order. Make sure you have tire chains and know how to put them on. And carry the necessary comforts in the vehicle – snacks, water, coats, blankets, medications and phone charger – in case of lengthy delays.

Perhaps the best tool for winter driving is a mental one. Are you wellrested for the trip? Are you leaving extra time to get to your destination? Slick roads from rain, black ice or frost will bring the need for slower speeds and increased following and stopping distances. We’ll do our part. We need you and everyone else to do theirs.


ADVERTISING Bill Krumpeck 541-776-4416


November 15, 2019

Jaren Hobson Graphic Design Steve Johnson Photography Brian Fitz-Gerald Illustration Shelley Snow, Charles Duncan Editing

This feature publication is produced separately from the Mail Tribune’s editorial department. All content is developed and approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation. ODOT is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to a diverse workforce. Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities; alternate formats are available upon request.

GP Pedestrian Improvements

“See how tippy - how easy it is for this wheel to come off the ground,” said Tony Ellis, an advocate for people with disabilities. He was just a few feet from passing cars, at the crosswalk landing at 6th and Morgan Streets in Grants Pass.

The main work will include ramp upgrades, enhanced signing and additional crosswalk markings. Two intersections will receive “bulb outs,” where the sidewalk extends out for increased visibility for pedestrians and vehicles.

The busy intersection, along with several others, will be upgraded next year to meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act requirement and improve safety for everyone.

The “bulb outs” at 6th and Steiger and 6th and B Streets will help pedestrians see and be seen by motorists. The intersection of 7th and Steiger Streets will also be improved.

Why these intersections? All have been the scene of at least one crash involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.

“It’s a work in progress. ODOT has stepped up to the plate,” said Randy Samuelson, executive director of HASL, the Handicap Awareness Support League in Grants Pass. He appreciates ODOT’s willingness to partner because, he said, part of being independent is experiencing the human condition – being able to get out and socialize safely.

“Without these dedicated type funds, we couldn’t do these upgrades to the Grants Pass system operated by ODOT,” said Transportation Project Manager Dan Roberts. “These intersections, part of Oregon 99, have been identified with a crash history and are in need of repair. At the same time, we’re taking care of the ADA requirements."

story continued on page 6

November 15, 2019


GP Pedestrian Improvements

story continued from page 5

The work ODOT is doing on a local basis and statewide is giving people back their communities, back their freedom and independence.

intersection signals are also some of the oldest in the ODOT inventory.

This northern gateway into “It’s been a long Grants Pass has time coming, a seen numerous new standard,” said crashes between Ellis. “[It’s] a way the Exit 58 that every design southbound offwe encounter will ramp and Scoville be the same. The — Tony Ellis Road traffic. Its ADA Advocate/Consultant work ODOT is off-set design is doing on a local a throw-back to basis and statewide is giving people when the interstate was first built back their communities, back their in the early 1960s. For instance, the freedom and independence.” Scoville Road traffic will get a green light while the off-ramp traffic right next to it waits on red.

Locals may understand it. Those from out of town are perplexed.

To learn more, scan the QR code (or follow the link) and join Tony Ellis on his Grants Pass tour.

“The crash history at this one intersection is one of the highest in the state,” said Roberts. The


November 15, 2019

JCT Electric Buses

ELECTRIFIES ITS FLEET After years of research, Josephine County placed an order with Compete Coach Works for the purchase of two 35 foot, 100% electric-powered transit vehicles. Last month, approximately 8 months later, those two vehicles arrived and are now being prepped for regular transit service.

by Scott Chancey, Manager, Josephine Community Transit

incorporate electric vehicles into service is pretty bold for a transit system the size of JCT. With that said, it seemed like a natural transition since JCT was moving to more traditional heavy duty transit vehicles already. With a useful life of 12 years the vehicles purchased today are going to be in service for a long time. Both vehicles will be used to replace JCT buses that are well beyond their useful life.

This has been a long journey, much longer than anticipated. The move to

story continued on page 8

Larry Nicholson, Agent 1380 Biddle Rd, Ste B Medford, OR 97504 Bus: 541-772-3233 MF-00108593

November 15, 2019


JCT Electric Buses story continued from page 7

The new buses seat 29 passengers and have an expected range of 180 miles. Those daily miles add up to over 45,000 miles annually. That is the equivalent of four private automobiles and more than 18 metric tons of carbon dioxide per transit vehicle. The charging system for the vehicles is going to be inductive, or proximity. That means the vehicle pulls over a charging pad when parked at the end of the day. There is no need to plugin, or unplug the vehicles and there aren’t individual charging units across the parking area. These vehicles are more than double the cost of a diesel powered vehicle. It is anticipated that the extra expense will be more than offset through reduced maintenance costs. Additional savings are expected in


November 15, 2019

reduced fuel costs. Comparatively, diesel is more expensive per mile than electricity. Many agencies running electric vehicles are seeing savings of $600 per month compared to diesel fuel costs. Josephine County operates fixed and commuter route service across the entire Rogue Valley. These vehicles will primarily be based in Grants Pass. They will be deployed on the JCT commuter routes as well, which includes service to Medford. Josephine County started commuter service between the two counties in 2014, with stops in Rogue River, Gold Hill and a connection to RVTD at its Front Street Station in downtown Medford. JCT is eager to take this huge step and is one of only four agencies in Oregon deploying 100% electric vehicles into transit service.

Siskiyou Rest Area/Welcome Center

The I-5 Siskiyou Rest Area-Welcome Center is open to weary travelers and visitors to Oregon. The center is an information hub and a welcome oasis staffed by Travel Oregon. It also houses an office for Oregon State Police working I-5. Scan the QR code to learn more.

80 Years of Leadership


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If you want the best for you and the environment, give Knife River a call today.


November 15, 2019


Winter Driving

All hands are on deck for ODOT this winter along the Interstate 5 corridor in southern Oregon, including the “Tasmanian Devil” and “Bulldog”. These are pet names we’ve given to the short, stubby-looking pusher trucks that can make the difference between keeping the interstate open to traffic or clogged for hours. “Pusher Trucks are one of the few tools we have that no one else has along the I-5 corridor,” said ODOT Assistant Manager Jeremiah Griffin. Griffin said the pusher trucks, this one called Bulldog on the Siskiyous, are a versatile tool that keeps the summits open. The pusher trucks are just one of the tools ODOT uses to keep the interstate open on the Oregon side. Caltrans picks up the rest to Redding. It’s a partnership renewed before each season in meetings in Ashland and Mt. Shasta; a time to place faces with


November 15, 2019

names and phone numbers – with the ultimate goal of building relationships. When the snow falls, communication and coordination – and those built relationships – are as valuable as cinder, plows, deicer and salt to keep the pass open to traffic. “We manage I-5 as a corridor with California because there are times when we may have to close the pass for them on the Oregon side, or the same may hold true on the California side,” said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. “The idea is to ensure the public is stopped where they have access to available services – fuel, food and a warm motel room.” Communication is Key That communication and preparation extends to the public. Far too often, drivers approach the passes in winter conditions without being fully ready. They either don’t know the forecast or don’t have their vehicles, or themselves, prepared for winter travel.

Winter Driving “Time and again, we see people not carrying chains, not knowing how to put them on or even not having the proper clothing to get down into the wet slop without getting cold and soaking wet,” said Ashland Maintenance Manager Bob Harshman. The driving public needs to take an assessment of their vehicles before winter travel. (See page 16 for that checklist.) Also critical are the agency communication tools:, Oregon DOT Twitter, Facebook pages and in California, Calling 511 still works for those who need to dial up the conditions. However, not all locations along the interstate, especially north of Grants Pass, have reliable cell service. Last year, when heavy snow fell in blizzard conditions on Smith, Stage and Sexton Summits, intermittent blind spots made it difficult to communicate with travelers stuck behind jackknifed vehicles. Some took to Twitter to ask ODOT when they could expect to get moving again. It wasn’t in minutes, but hours. One Twitter user said he had not looked at the weather forecast, nor did he have chains. He asked ‘What will become of me?’ “That is not a question we want to see or hear,” said ODOT Public Affairs Representative Gary Leaming. “Fortunately, we encouraged him to check with his neighbors who were better prepared and helped him dig out once we were able to remove the jack-knifed trucks.”

Maintenance practices Winter maintenance practices include plowing, sanding and applying winter anti-icing liquid and finally, salt. Crews use snowplows and truck-mounted push plows to clear snow, and they use frame-mounted tailgate sanders, deicer trucks and spreaders to sand and salt roadways. For example, crews apply deicer (magnesium chloride) and sanding material (cinder) on hills, curves, bridges and known trouble spots. The deicer is used as an anti-icer before the storm to help prevent ice from forming on the road surface, and as a deicer after the storm to help break the bond between ice and the road surface. On Siskiyou Summit and the summits north of Grants Pass, the pusher trucks – as noted earlier – are invaluable for pushing and straightening stalled or jackknifed commercial tractor-trailers that can close down all lanes in a moment. “We can’t stop the snow, but we can try to prevent it from bonding onto our highways,” said Marmon. “We are constantly improving efficiencies and equipment that allow our maintenance crews to focus on more areas during winter storms.” Both Bulldog and Tasmanian Devil will be at the ready again this winter. Their drivers will be on the CB again as they bump up against stalled trucks to help them “Grab some gears, get going…”

“In today’s media environment, it’s critical we use traditional and new media to get our messages out to the public – and that includes helpful videos on the Oregon DOT YouTube site,” said Marmon.

Ride along with a pusher truck and experience what it’s like to keep traffic moving on the southern Oregon I-5 passes – Scan the QR code, or the follow link:

November 15, 2019




Pay attention to these four snow zone messages:

Carry Chains or Traction Tires The chains or traction tires must be in or on your vehicle, and they must be the right size for your vehicle and of sufficient number to comply with the chain rules.

Chains Required on Vehicles Towing or Over 10,000 GVW Vehicles towing or rated for more than 10,000 pounds GVW must use chains.

Chains Required on Vehicles Towing or Single Drive Axle Over 10,000 GVW You must use chains if your vehicle is rated 10,000 pounds GVW (gross vehicle weight) or less and is towing; or is a single drive axle vehicle rated over 10,000 GVW. Chains must also be used on the trailer or vehicle being towed to comply with chain rules.

Chains Required-Traction Tires Allowed on Vehicles Under 10,000 GVW Vehicles towing or rated for 10,000 pounds GVW must use chains. Vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds GVW or less and that are not towing must use chains or traction tires.


Chains include link chains, cable chains, or any other device that attaches to the wheel, vehicle, or outside of the tire, which is specifically designed to increase traction on ice and snow. Traction tires include studded tires or tires that meet tire industry standards for use in severe snow conditions. Studless traction tires that meet Rubber


November November 15, 15, 2019 2019

Manufacturers Association standards for use in severe snow conditions carry a special symbol on the tire sidewall: a three-peaked mountain and snowflake. Research shows these tires provide better traction than studded tires on bare pavement. When towing, cars and light trucks must use chains on both tires of the drive axle; chains also must be on the two outside tires of at least one axle of a trailer that is equipped with a brake. In most winter conditions, four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles are exempt from the requirement to use chains or traction tires if the vehicle is not towing.

CONDITIONAL CLOSURES Extreme winter conditions on Interstate 5 Siskiyou Pass and the summits north of Grants Pass often require a conditional road closure – a requirement for all vehicles to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire. ODOT and Oregon State Police maintain check points and will turn a motorist around if they aren’t prepared.

I-5 SOUTHERN OREGON CHAIN RESTRICTIONS 1. Carry Chains Chains must be in or on your vehicle and must be the right size and of sufficient number to comply with chain laws. 2. Single Axle Trucks and Vehicles Pulling Trailers All single axle trucks over 10,000 GVW (gross vehicle weight), trucks pulling double trailers, and any vehicle pulling a trailer is required to install chains. Traction tires cannot be substituted for chains. 3. All Trucks and Vehicles Pulling Trailers All trucks over 10,000 GVW as well as any vehicle pulling a trailer needs to chain up. Traction tires cannot be substituted for chains. 4. Full Chain Restriction This is Oregon’s most severe winter restriction. All vehicles, with the exception of vehicles with 4-wheel drive (unless towing) and emergency response vehicles, are required to install chains. A traction tire is not allowed to substitute for chains.

Follow the QR code, or follow the link below, to learn how to drive I-5 Siskiyou Summit in the winter.

November November 15, 15, 2019 2019



November 15, 2019

November 15, 2019




by Marie Dodds AAA of Oregon/Idaho


Emergency Kit for Winter Driving AAA recommends including these items in your “emergency kit” for winter driving.



Washer fluid

AAA membership card r


First aid kit Jumper cables Water

Warning triangles/flares



cellphone charger, tire chains, rope, traction sand/mats, coats/hats, snack food and fire extinguisher. Snowbrush/ice scraper Tool kit




Car Preparation Get ready by checking: • Tire tread and pressure • Battery strength • Fluid levels • Check heater/defroster • All lights • Wipers • Hoses and fan belts • Spare tire and jack

2. Winter Driving Kit • Jumper cables • Tow and tire chains (know how to install) • Abrasive materials like sand • Warm clothing, hats gloves • Water and snacks • Prescription medicine • Phone charger • Warning flares • Ice scraper and brush

3. Drive Smart! • Drive to the conditions • Slow down on snow/ice covered roads • Increase following distance • Increase braking distance • Steer out of a skid • Avoid unnecessary lane changes on snow/ice 4. Use Common Sense • Dress according to weather conditions. Have an extra coat, hat and gloves in case yours gets wet changing tire or installing chains. • Let family members know your travel plans and route, expected time of arrival • Don’t blindly follow GPS. Stay on roads that are well-maintained • If stuck, stay with vehicle.

P L A N A H E A D A N D B E P R E PA R E D !


November 15, 2019

Redwood Highway Safety

by Rosalee Senger, Southwest ODOT One of our regional highways has been in the news recently - and for all the wrong reasons. U.S. 199, Redwood Highway, has seen its unfortunate share of crashes this past summer garnering the expected media attention. Behind the four fatal crashes along the highway in Oregon are the tragic personal stories of lives lost needlessly. In general, Redwood Highway has about the same number of crashes per mile than other similar highways, such as Oregon 62 - Crater Lake Highway. The difference is Redwood Highway crashes are much more severe: they are usually head-on crashes where drivers cross the center line or run off the roadway into an oncoming vehicle or a fixed object, such as a tree. From January through May this year, there were no fatal crashes along U.S. 199. Since the first of June, there have been four. Five more fatalities have occurred on the Josephine County road system in the Illinois Valley.

Transportation Safety Coordinator

So what’s causing these fatal crashes? We and our law enforcement partners see a combination of poor driving practices, such as driving too fast for conditions, unsafe passing, following too close and driving either impaired or distracted. Also, drivers along the highway are driving much faster than the posted 55 mph speed limit. Most of these crashes are occurring in daylight hours, all days of the week, under dry and clear conditions, with drivers of all ages along the entire corridor. So it’s hard to pin down an exact cause or focus on a specific location within the corridor. In recent years we have invested $33 million in the highway with new pavement, guardrail, center line rumble strips and site markers between Applegate River Bridge

story continued on page 18 November 15, 2019


Redwood Highway Safety

We talk in traffic safety about the four “E's”: engineering, education, enforcement and emergency services. Currently, not all are working as they should; we have an imbalance and we want to fix that. The safety awareness working group will help.

story continued from page 17

and Cave Junction. We have more investments coming in our capital improvement plan, such as improving the so-called “clear zone,” opening up the sides of the highway to encroaching trees and brush. They hide warning signs, make it difficult to see around corners and act as fixed objects for vehicles to crash into.

ODOT is committed to working with local and state partners to do what we can to help with the safety challenges along Redwood Highway. We’re committed to a corridor planning study to uncover possible long term safety improvements. Such a comprehensive effort is not expected until next year due to scope development. The local safety awareness working group will no doubt help inform that long range study, too.

We’ve also started a safety awareness working group that will meet frequently and act as local eyes and ears of what’s happening in the Illinois Valley. In addition to the local input and search for solutions from community members, other agency partners, and EMS agencies, the group also is represented by law enforcement – Oregon State Police, Josephine County Sheriff and Grants Pass Department of Public Safety. We know they are doing everything they can to maintain patrols with short staffs and shrinking local budgets. For instance, Oregon State Police is covering all of Josephine County with a total of 10 troopers assigned to the Grants Pass field office. OSP and Josephine County Sheriff deputies would like to do more, but they just can’t given the limitations.


November 15, 2019

We’ve embarked on a specific safety awareness campaign that includes portable and permanent message boards. We have placed crashed car trailers along the corridor and at local high schools to raise awareness about the dangers of speeding and distracted driving. We will continue that effort in the coming months as well. We’ll continue to look for those quick turn projects to increase safety in the corridor. Safety is a team effort, and the most important player, as the data show, is the driving public.

What's the Deal with Real ID? Something big is coming that will change the way you get on a commercial flight. Starting on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, you will need a special form of identification or face additional time and scrutiny by the Transportation Security Administration. Don't have the right ID? You might miss your flight. What's happening? It's something called Real ID. The U.S. Congress passed the Real ID Act back in 2005. It came from the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the federal government "set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver licenses." If a state driver license meets those requirements, the license is good to show at the TSA security line.

Your Winter Driving Headquarters!

Oregon currently does not issue Real ID-compliant licenses. Uh-oh. Before I go any further, please visit our website to find out more ( And, spoiler alert, if you have a valid U.S. passport (or passport card), you can stop reading and use it instead of a driver license to board a plane. Don't have a passport? Don't Panic First, the back story. Why isn't Oregon's license compliant? The short version: DMV couldn't legally work on a Real ID license until after the 2017 Legislative Session. story continued on page 20

Get Set for Winter Travel! ✓Tire Chains ❐ ✓Road Emergency Kit ❐ ✓Flares ❐ ✓Flashlight ❐ ✓Shovel ❐ ✓Wiper Blades ❐ ✓De-icer/Scrapers ❐ ✓Batteries ❐

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November 15, 2019


What's the Deal with Real ID?

story continued from page 19

By the time the Oregon Legislature allowed an Oregon Real ID license, DMV was in the midst of a giant computer system replacement — a project that couldn't be stopped to work on Real ID. The vehicle part of that upgrade debuted in January 2019. The driver part launches in July of 2020. A Real ID option will be part of that launch. Oregon DMV will begin offering Real ID licenses on July 6, 2020. But do the math: we figure about a million Oregonians will want a Real ID license and there are only 64 workdays between July 6, and Oct. 1, 2020. DMV would have to issue nearly 2,000 licenses an hour to meet the demand. That's not going to happen (no matter how hard we work)! What happens if you don't have a Real ID form of ID? TSA has something called: "Identification Verification Call Center." Basically, you'll have to prove your identity to an agent while at the airport. It takes time, and there are only so many agents on the line at one time. Don't go there. It's not a good option.


November 15, 2019

There is some good news here. A driver license isn't the only form of accepted ID out there. A valid U.S. passport or passport card works just fine, as well as many military IDs. TSA has a complete list: security-screening/identification. That's our best suggestion — get a passport or passport card. A passport card is cheaper than a passport book ($30 vs. $145 if you already have a passport) and takes four to six weeks (and can be expedited for a fee). If you are applying for a new passport book or card, the documentation requirements are nearly the same as for a Real ID license: • Evidence of U.S. Citizenship • Proof of identity •P hotocopy of your identification document • A recent passport photo There are over 75 passport acceptance facilities in Oregon — mostly post offices, county clerks, and universities. They are all aware of the Oregon dilemma and are prepared to serve you. But don't wait. October 2020 will be here before you know it.

What's the Deal with Real ID? Again, go to for lots more information. As for the Oregon Real ID driver license and ID card? Get ready for that now, if you want one. It is optional. If you aren't going to fly domestically, go on a military base, or visit a nuclear facility, you don't even need one. After things settle down with DMV's new systems, you can certainly apply for one. You'll need:

DMV is staffing up for Real ID because not everyone in Oregon will read this article (I know …). But really, do you want to wait in line at DMV when you don't have to? Bottom line: Get or use your passport book or a passport card to board a commercial flight as of Oct. 1, 2020. Tom Fuller is communications manager for ODOT. Comments can be directed to

• Proof of identity and legal presence • Social Security number • Proof of address with at least two documents DMV has some great ways to help you figure out which documents to bring. Find out more at www. Gather your documents now so you'll be ready.

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November 15, 2019



I-5 Bridge Work With many highway improvement projects, the work is straightforward; the challenge is often how to do the work with the least impact to traffic.

in the interest of worker safety, the bridge is too narrow to mix traffic and workers.”

That will be the case next spring when four Interstate 5 bridges near Valley of the Rogue State Park will have their decks repaired. They are the two interstate bridges over the Rogue River and the two nearby bridges over Rogue River Highway (Oregon 99). “These four bridges are past due for repair,” said ODOT Bridge Engineer Bob Grubbs.

The work will be similar to the recently completed deck repairs to the Medford Viaduct. It also had an element of risk with the contractor working within inches of night time traffic. Instead, traffic will be detoured for about three miles at night onto nearby Oregon 99 between the city of Rogue River (Exit 48) and the south side of the Rogue River (Exit 45A)

The bridges were constructed and placed into service in 1961. In the 1980s, they received a structural overlay on the bridge decks. Since then, some parts of the concrete deck have separated from the bridge supports. But to do that work next year, and still keep traffic flowing, may test the patience of late night drivers and nearby residents along Rogue River Highway. “We’ve looked at various ways to do the work and still keep traffic moving,” said ODOT Transportation Project Manager Justin Shoemaker. “We looked at repairing them under traffic, but


November 15, 2019

I-5 Bridge Work

“We know that won’t be the usual traffic running late at night on Rogue River Highway,” said Shoemaker. Still, traffic counts on the interstate at night are a trickle of what they are during the day. According to Shoemaker, the repairs are expected to take about six weeks, in each direction, Sunday through Thursday nights. Circles and Squares Drivers on the bridges near Valley of the Rogue State Park may have seen the faded patchwork of circles and squares on the decks. Those areas will be further investigated; those found defective areas will be removed, possibly with jackhammer. Once those areas are fixed on the bridge, the deck will get a new overlay

of a fast-drying wearing surface called a pre-mixed polymer concrete, similar to what was placed on Caveman Bridge in Grants Pass. “It has to be dry and is sensitive to temperature,” said Grubbs. “Not too hot, and not too cold.” Grubbs estimates the new overlay will give the bridge decks another 10-15 years old life. The outreach has just begun. Shoemaker has met with the nearby Murphy Mill and with rangers from Valley of the Rogue State Park. To keep campers connected, advisories will be placed on the state park’s reservation system and flaggers will direct the few late-night campers to the park. Watch for an open house in the Rogue River area in for the near future.

November 15, 2019


I-5 CA Border/Ashland Paving Season one of three is complete on a $26 million Interstate 5 repair project south of Ashland. ‘It’s a wrap just in time before the snow flies,” said ODOT Consultant Project Manager Chris Hunter of the October 15 deadline. The southbound interstate slow lanes have been rebuilt with new reinforcing steel and concrete between milepost 11 to 9. Rutted and damaged concrete, as well as exposed reinforcing steel were replaced after three decades of use. For drivers, that meant several months of single lane traffic for two miles in each direction, separated by barrier, south of Ashland on the climb up to Siskiyou Summit. For southbound traffic climbing the grade, that meant speeds were as fast as the slowest truck. The construction speed limit was 40 mph. “The concrete installed in the late 1980s has stood the test,” said ODOT Ashland Maintenance Manager Everett Carroll. The original I-5 road surface was asphalt when the Siskiyou Summit section opened in 1966.

Because the project location is in a snow zone – with Siskiyou Summit at 4,310 feet – construction timelines are limited to late spring through fall.

On tap for the rest of the project will be “diamond grinding” or leveling the lightly-rutted concrete surface and rehabilitating damaged concrete pavement. In some locations that means repairing or completely replacing concrete panels so there will be some additional crossovers. Guard rail replacement and shoulder/ramp paving are also in store.

Next year the first of the bridges will undergo a major renovation. The twin bridges at Exit 6 over Old Siskiyou Highway will see their decks completely replaced. Decades of winter maintenance activities, freezethaw and chemical deicers have been hard on the bridge’s concrete and steel rebar decks.


November 15, 2019

Deck Replacements

I-5 CA Border/Ashland Paving Instead of a superficial deck fix, the entire bridge deck - concrete and steel reinforcing bar - will be replaced. Once removed, the contractor will rebuild the entire deck from the horizontal beams up, a process that will take several months to complete. For interstate drivers, that means both directions of traffic will be moved onto one bridge. With two lanes of traffic running head-to-head, separated by a concrete barrier, precautions are being made for trucks with loads wider than 12 feet. “A temporary on-ramp will be constructed from old Siskiyou Highway as a way for over-wide southbound trucks to bypass the narrow bridge width,” said Hunter. For example, the southbound lanes on the northbound bridge will be restricted to 15 feet total between concrete barriers. Northbound width will be 22 feet. Those oversized loads will divert onto the Exit 6 southbound ramp and then back on at the temporary ramp. Traffic coming north on Old Siskiyou Highway will need to stop for that traffic.

Local Traffic Impacts During bridge demolition, traffic under the bridge will be closed temporarily for safety. That will result in some out-of-direction travel for residents living on both sides of Interstate 5 near the summit. Residents east of I-5 may need to use Old Siskiyou Highway to Oregon 66 for a time to travel north. Those on the west side of the interstate may need to drive south to Hilt, California and back north toward Ashland. Hunter said the contractor will work hard to get the area under the bridge passable as soon as possible for drivers and Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers who divert from the trail for some rest and relaxation at Ashland. “It’s been about 33 years since we’ve had such a large impact to travelers on both the interstate and the local highway,” said Hunter. “The bridge work will mean more impacts but we’ll do our best to work with the contractor, communicate the schedule and keep everyone connected.”

November 15, 2019


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