Bridge Decks Rehabilitation
Road construction or maintenance at any time of day presents unique safety challenges. Add daytime traffic and congestion and a crash can soon back up traffic and present secondary (rear end) crashes that completely shut down the road.
Measures include lowering work zone speed limits from 55 MPH to 45 MPH with a posted construction advisory speed of 35 MPH. ODOT will require electronic message boards and portable rumble strips that will be laid down and picked up nightly.
Two bridge rehabilitation projects in Medford, nighttime work on the Interstate 5 Medford viaduct, and daytime work on the Barnett Road overpass will test driver and worker safety this summer. The $1.5 million rehabilitation project will extend the life of the bridge decks and provide a better and smoother driving surface.
“The portable rumble strips are a new safety device for us to alert drivers.” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming.
While nighttime work benefits from less traffic, additional danger comes in the form of impaired drivers, whether they are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or something else, like lack of sleep. “The margin of safety is thin,” said ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher. “With only orange barrels separating our contractor and inspectors from nighttime traffic, we need to put in place several measures to help keep them safe.”
Another safety measure will be the Medford Police Department’s speed van. The van will mobilize in the work zone with photo radar. In 2013, the Oregon Legislature reviewed a pilot project using photo radar in work zones and made the program permanent. Advance warning signs will alert travelers when photo radar enforcement is active. “This summer’s bridge work in Medford will be the first time an I-5 work zone employs photo radar outside the Portland metro area,” said Leaming.
BRIDGE DECKS continued on page 6
May 18, 2018