Moving Ahead - Winter 2014

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3-D traffic simulation video “How will I negotiate the new interchange design?” That’s a frequent question ODOT hears from local drivers and Phoenix residents, including stakeholders who followed the project’s long development process. A 3-D traffic simulation completed in 2013 shows how the new crossing diamond interchange will operate. The simulation is featured on the project website. “The traffic simulation video makes it much easier to explain how the new Fern Valley interchange will operate,” said Leaming. “From our project outreach during the South Medford Interchange project, we learned that a picture or, in this case, a video, is worth a thousand words. Once people see it, people get it.” Work Zone Safety I-5 drivers are benefitting from many safety features in the Fern Valley Interchange project work zone. Beyond cones and barrels, the project employs TripCheck traffic cameras, the Rogue Valley’s first Incident Response vehicle, and transverse rumble strips that have been built into the temporary southbound off-ramp to notify drivers of the upcoming tight, 20 mph curve before reaching the signalized intersection. “The I-5 speed limit is lowered to 50 mph because of the narrow travel lanes and the close proximity of workers and vehicles entering and exiting the work zone,” said Leaming. “All of these tools are designed to reduce work zone crashes. December 12, 2014

Although designed to promote safety, relieve congestion and improve connectivity, state highway projects are often vilified as disruptive, headache-inducing challenges for drivers and local businesses. What most people don’t realize is that short-term, high-intensity construction projects like the Fern Valley Interchange are also major business generators. After winning the project bid, prime contractor Hamilton Construction of Springfield established accounts with nearly 40 suppliers and subcontractors in the Phoenix area. For example, Hamilton Construction purchases tires from Les Schwab Tire Center, water for its construction trailers from Mt. Shasta Spring Water and plywood from The Home Depot. Other local contractors and vendors supporting the project include Pacific Survey, Ledford Construction, Southern Oregon Concrete Pumping, Bullet Rental and Sales, Hilton Fuel/ Trucking, United Rentals Northwest, and Wilson Equipment Rentals and Sales. So far, Hamilton Construction has spent roughly $1.9 million on materials, such as concrete and rebar and about $260,000 on supplies. Additionally, construction workers eat at local restaurants like Si Casa Flores and sleep at local motels or RV parks, such as America’s Best Inn and Suites. “People have been real responsive to help us out,” said Hamilton Construction Project Manager Chris VanderPloeg. VanderPloeg estimates Hamilton Construction’s expenditures on the Fern Valley project will probably double before construction wraps up in 2016.