Moving Ahead September 2016

Page 10

ROCK PILES PROTECT BEAR CREEK BRIDGES To the whimsical eye, the rock piles that appeared near the Bear Creek Bridges at Medford’s Interstate 5 Exit 30 might have been the movie set for a live-action Flintstones sequel.

flood, following surveys of I-5 bridges in the Rogue Valley.

Using ODOT-owned property as a staging area, the $2 million project strategically placed rock of various sizes around the supports, where However, ODOT District Manager some are grouted or cemented Jerry Marmon is quick to dispel into place. According any Hollywood rumors as to ODOT Project the Bedrock City-sized Manager Ted Paselk, piles of rock were the process is designed to reinThe rock around engineered to force the twin I-5 obtain maximum spans in case of the bridge footings protection for a catastrophic was undersized and the bridges flood. wouldn’t protect the while ensuring These Bear the rocks don’t bridge during the next Creek Bridges raise the water major flood. were built in level in Bear — ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon 1961, when Creek. I-5 first opened. “The project was Bridge inspections scheduled for the since have shown vulsummer, when the creek nerability to floods. level is low,” said Paselk. “It is “The rock around the bridge footings important this project doesn’t affect was undersized and wouldn’t protect neighboring properties when the the bridge during the next major creek level comes back up in the flood,” said Marmon. “If we lose the winter.” bridges, we lose a major connection The project also took into account for West Coast freight.” the adjacent Bear Creek Greenway These two bridges were identified as to ensure the path remained open the highest risk to fail during a major during the busy summer months.


September 23, 2016