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A Mail Tribune Advertising Department publication

Department of Transportation

Oregon

March

21 2014


ENGINEERING www.hdrinc.com

Planning & Environmental Simplified

DELIVERING YOUR TOMORROW, TODAY

HDR understands the complexities of combining transportation planning with environmental approvals. We create a roadmap for the entire project by integrating environmental, planning, and decision making into a streamlined process. This ensures that critical environmental issues can be considered concurrently with the alternatives analysis evaluation. Plus our National NEPA practice lead, James Gregory, is located right here in Oregon – giving our local clients access to our company’s leading expert. Want to learn more? Contact James Gregory at: James. Gregory@HDRINC.com | 503.423.3706 ASHLAND

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ON OUR COVER The light at the end of the tunnel or, in this case, the construction equipment at the end of the pipe, signal work is underway on the $72 million Fern Valley Interchange project. The first challenge will be installing a four-foot drainage pipe across Interstate 5.

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Applegate River Bridge New, concrete bridge taking shape on Redwood Highway

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Oregon 62 Expressway Project Property owners, ODOT explore design opportunity for expressway

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I-5: Glendale-to-Hugo Climbing lane completed, project makes safety improvements

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Fern Valley Interchange Motorists brace for 25 days of single-lane traffic on I-5

EDITORIAL DIRECTORS Jared Castle, (541) 957-3656 jared.b.castle@odot.state.or.us

CONTRIBUTORS Bret Jackson Publication Supervisor

Gary Leaming, (541) 774-6388 gary.w.leaming@odot.state.or.us

Steve Johnson Photography

ADVERTISING Dena DeRose, (541) 776-4439 dderose@mailtribune.com

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Brian Fitz-Gerald Illustration Jared Castle, Gary Leaming Writing Sally Ridenour, Shelley Snow Editing

This feature publication is produced separately from the Mail Tribune’s newspaper editorial department. All content is provided or 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 available upon request.

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STIP projects out for public review The list of Rogue Valley projects for the 2015-2018 State Transportation Improvement Program is out for review. The STIP is ODOT’s short-term capital improvement program developed through the coordinated efforts of ODOT, federal and local governments, ACTs, tribal governments and the public. Read more online at: www. oregon.gov/odot/HWY/Region3/ Pages/STIP.aspx Oregon 140: Exit 35 to Blackwell Road — This project would add a center turn lane, widen shoulders and add a bike lane to Oregon 140 north of Central Point.

Several pedestrian-related crashes have occurred on Lozier Lane between West Main and Stewart Avenue. Linn Road: between Oregon 62 and Buchanan (Eagle Point) — This project would widen Linn Road to accommodate sidewalks and bike lanes. Oregon 99: Twin Creeks Rail crossing (Central Point) — This project will add a new multimodal access route into the Twin Creeks Transit Oriented Development from Oregon 99. Currently, Pine Street is the sole, congested access.

Table Rock Road: I-5 to Biddle — Upgrades to this two-lane route south of Biddle Road would include a center turn lane, sidewalks and bike lanes.

I-5: Medford Viaduct Environmental Study — Building upon the facility study already on schedule, this would connect that with the environmental study.

Lozier Lane (Medford) — Improvements to this one-time rural road are needed due to its narrow width, with no sidewalks or bike lanes.

RVTD Passenger Fare Collection — RVTD would upgrade to an electronic fare system, improving traffic flow and bus schedules.

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TOLO BRIDGE REPAIR WORK

COMING THIS SUMMER

While not many motorists know the Tolo Bridge by name, the steep overpass that spans Interstate 5 between Central Point and Gold Hill is instantly recognizable to Rogue Valley motorists if for no other reason than its plain, some might say ugly, aesthetic quality. This summer, the 58-year-old bridge will undergo a facelift that won’t improve its beauty but will strengthen the bridge for many more decades of use. The interior girders and cross beams will be repaired; cracks will be injected with epoxy-based glue; the deck will be tied to the bridge; vertical supports will be wrapped with fiber reinforced polymer; and the rails will be retrofitted to meet today’s safety standards. The treatment will be similar to the repair work on Ashland’s Water Street Bridge in 2011. The repair work will require closing Tolo Bridge for a six-week period this summer that requires nearby residents to use a detour. The work will also affect Interstate 5 traffic at night.

The project will also pave a five-mile section of I-5 from Rock Point (exit 43) and the Evans Creek Bridge to just north of Rogue River (milepost 48). The existing open-graded pavement mix will be replaced with a dense grade of asphalt. The open-graded pavement will be ground off and traffic will travel over the tightly ground surface before it is repaved. “This process will give our inspectors an opportunity to identify where the roadbed is failing,” said ODOT Project Leader Mark Leedom, “and make the appropriate repairs before I-5 gets a new surface.” The grinding work is scheduled to take place one lane at a time, so motorists will need to be alert and avoid the abrupt edge until the paving is complete. Additionally, Oregon State Parks and Recreation provided funding to the project to repave roads in and around the Valley of the Rogue State Park and the rest area.

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Register now for OEC’s State

Conference for Business Mark your calendar for the Oregon Employer Council (OEC) State Conference for Business. The event welcomes CEOs, human resource professionals and business owners/ managers from all over the Northwest. The two-day conference begins Monday, May 5 at the Seven Feathers Resort in Canyonville. It features keynote sessions and multiple breakout options with topics on human resources, labor law, and business strategy. The OEC is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to fostering a partnership between Oregon employers and the Oregon Employment Department. Teams of volunteer employer representatives serve as advisors to the Oregon Employment Department

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enabling Oregon employers and the Employment Department to identify and address local, regional, state and national workforce challenges. OEC produces nearly 100 training sessions each year. Many of OEC’s education offerings are approved for continuing education credits in a variety of industries, including Society for Human Resource Management. Join your peers and become a member of the Oregon Employer Council. The only condition of eligibility for membership is to be an Oregon employer. The conference agenda is available at www.oec.org. You can also contact the OEC coordinator Greg Ivers at greg.e.ivers@state.or.us or 503-947-1305.

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Applegate River Bridge workers pouring it on ahead of concrete pour Prime contractor Carter and Company of Salem maintained a steady pace over the winter on the $5.9 million Applegate River Bridge replacement project. According to ODOT Project Manager Ted Paselk, construction workers have been tying steel to the concrete beams. Concrete pours are next on the construction schedule if the weather holds.

“If there’s seven days of good weather, Carter and Company will be out there pouring concrete,” said Paselk. “Should the weather turn cold, they will wait since the contractor doesn’t want to have to heat a freshly poured deck.” If the current schedule holds, traffic may be on the new bridge, which is located eight miles west of Grants Pass on the Redwood Highway (U.S. 199), as early as May.

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The detour structure kept traffic moving during demolition of the 58-year-old bridge and as construction began on its replacement. “The remainder of the work should go fairly quickly once the new bridge opens to traffic and Carter and Company begins dismantling the temporary bridge,” said Paselk. “Once we hit the in-water work period in mid-June, the rest of the temporary structure can be pulled out of the river bed.” Vital Connection When the existing bridge was built in 1955, about 2,000 vehicles crossed the 547-foot span daily. By 2011, the number of vehicles had increased to 10,300 per day. The old bridge’s narrow 30-foot roadway and bridge rails did not meet today’s safety standards, which enforced the need for a replacement project. “The Applegate River Bridge is a vital connection between Interstate 5, the Illinois Valley, northern California and the Oregon coast” said Paselk. “This project ensures that transportation resource will continue to serve for generations to come.” Construction on the new Applegate River Bridge began in spring 2013. Motorists had to contend with traffic delays

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“The new bridge railings will meet today’s safety standards and, unlike the old structure that had six supports in the river channel, the new bridge will only have two,” said ODOT Lead Bridge Engineer Bob Grubbs.

as fill materials were trucked in and compacted for the temporary bridge approaches and supports. Traffic shifted over to the temporary structure in August 2012. Nearly 50 feet wide, the Applegate River Bridge replacement project uses pre-stressed concrete beams. The new bridge will feature two 12-foot travel lanes as well as two 10-foot shoulders.

According to Grubbs, the new bridge will also be slightly wider on the west end to accommodate a new turn lane at Riverbanks Road.

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Enhance funding expands MEDFORD VIADUCT STUDY

The Oregon Transportation Commission recently selected the Medford Viaduct environmental study to receive $4 million in discretionary Enhance funding, a category of the ODOT capital improvement program that focuses on projects that enhance, expand or improve the transportation system. The added investment means the planning division’s facility plan, announced last year, will now transition into an environmental study of Medford’s most iconic bridge. The 3,222-foot Medford Viaduct was built in 1962. It supports Interstate 5 between two major exits — the south Medford interchange at exit 27 and the north Medford interchange at exit 30.

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“This is a fantastic opportunity,” said ODOT Principal Planner Lisa Cortes. “The Enhance funding allows our agency to prepare a facility plan in conjunction with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the project development process.” Facility plans generally culminate in a determination of what needs to be done to address an identified problem based on established policy direction and standards. Project planning is carried out in accordance with NEPA and is known within ODOT as the project development process. Facility plan “The facility plan provides ODOT and local agencies and other stakeholders with a priority list of specific improvements,” Cortes said.

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“Recommended improvements will likely focus on capacity, safety, and changes to the local road network. Some solutions might be a combination of them all.

look at improvements at a lower range of costs that optimize public dollars.

“Any future project for the Medford viaduct would also need to balance environmental issues with Bear Creek, park land and expensive right of way costs.”

Environmental study While the facility plan develops a 20-year vision for the structure and the community, the environmental study goes into greater depth, addressing the challenges presented by more than 50 years of residential and commercial growth around the Medford viaduct.

The facility plan’s objectives are to: • Protect the viaduct’s function; • Develop concepts to improve safety and maximize operational efficiency; • Evaluate the need for capacity improvements to address future needs based on the adopted comprehensive land use plans of Medford and Jackson County; • Identify potential local system enhancements that maintain connectivity and complement the viaduct’s function; • Coordinate the study’s efforts with other plans and projects in the study area; and •Prioritize viaduct improvements with consideration for potential funding mechanisms. “When you start talking about replacement, project costs start at hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cortes said. “It is imperative that we

ODOT in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) prepares environmental documentation for each transportation project that receives federal-aid funding or federal approval from FHWA as required by NEPA. NEPA documents for these projects fall into three categories: Categorical Exclusions (CE), Environmental Assessments (EA) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). FHWA makes NEPA decisions by approving CEs, by issuing Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs) for EAs, or by issuing Records of Decision (RODs) for EISs. According to Cortes, the scale of major project concepts, such as a full replacement of the Medford viaduct, or the addition of another deck atop I-5, far exceeds the level of transportation funding expected through year 2020.

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RVTD studying High Capacity Transit

EmX is Lane Transit District’s newest transportation service. EmX is the bus rapid transit (BRT) system designed to serve the Eugene and Springfield communities. EmX features median and curbside stations with enhanced amenities. The transitways and dedicated lanes allow EmX vehicles to bypass traffic. Preferential access technologies, such as queue jumping and signal priority, give the service a bit of an edge over regular traffic.

The Rogue Valley Transportation District is exploring options for High Capacity Transit in the Highway 99 corridor between Central Point and Ashland. The project, which can be characterized as a preliminary assessment or scoping study, has three components: (1) an assessment of community perceptions; (2) conceptual renderings of station areas; and (3) an operational analysis. High Capacity Transit (HCT) can take the form of an express bus, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) like that in use in the Lane Transit District, commuter service and even passenger rail. “The project sets the stage for a 10-20 year planning horizon that would drastically improve transit travel times, passenger comfort and schedule reliability along the Highway 99 corridor,” said RVTD Senior Planner Paige Townsend. Each day, RVTD provides over 5,000 transit trips along the Highway 99 corridor on Routes 10 and 40. The Federal Transit Administration recognizes a need for HCT when a corridor reaches at least 3,000 trips per day; however the planning for such a service can take as long as 10 years. Density is also an indicator for whether HCT can be cost-effective. The number of employees and residents living and working near the existing Routes

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10 and 40 meet, and in many cases exceeds, the necessary density levels to support HCT (20 persons per square acre is a common threshold). “RVTD is also experiencing overcrowding on buses, especially on Route 10, and buses often arrive too late to transfer at Front Street Station,” Townsend said. “Adding an HCT line would drastically reduce travel times and relieve the capacity and schedule issues seen on our regular service.” RVTD has partnered with the Community Planning Workshop, based at the University of Oregon, to conduct key person interviews, hold focus groups meetings and complete surveys to gauge whether RVTD should pursue HCT. At the same time RVTD is working with lead transit-planning firm, Nelson Nygaard, to complete an Operations Analysis to identify existing resources and deficiencies within RVTD’s current non-HCT system that will require further strategic planning. The preliminary HCT assessment will occur this spring and summer. More information is online at www.rvtd.org.

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Oregon 62 Expressway project Construction start delayed to 2015

ism and commuters. Unfortunately, the Crater Lake Highway exceeds capacity standards. Future growth is expected to significantly increase traffic volumes.

A spring bid date for the Oregon 62 Expressway project is being pushed back to December, due in part to a backlog of right of way files and stretched resources working on the Fern Valley Interchange project. The bid delay effectively pushes the start of construction along Crater Lake Highway to spring 2015. “The right of way backlog is not isolated to southern Oregon,” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. “With all the Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) projects coming on line about the same time, something had to give.” The $120 million multimodal project is being designed to increase capacity and improve safety along the Oregon 62 corridor. The corridor is a critical business connection for freight, tour-

“Oregon 62 and Delta Waters Road is the busiest intersection in the entire southwest Oregon region,” said ODOT Public Information Officer Gary Leaming. “The traffic counts are higher than those at I-5 north of Medford.” Coker Butte-area property owners Coker Butte-area property owners recently approached the project team to consider an alternative expressway overcrossing at Coker Butte Road instead of at Commerce Drive. “We have been presented with a unique, opportunity,” said ODOT Area

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Manager Art Anderson. “We have had a couple meetings with these property owners and look to move forward with this option.”

• Modifying the bridge over Vilas Road to accept a tighter diamond interchange design when on- and off-ramps are eventually constructed.

The Commerce Drive crossing provides the same access to the developed properties that exists today. ODOT estimates that the Coker Butte Road crossing would cost $1.8 million more than the crossing currently in the design.

Environmental Impact Statement After nearly nine years of planning and public meetings, ODOT completed the federally-required Final Environmental Impact Statement in spring 2013. The milestone is necessary before construction can begin.

“Most of the property owners have offered to donate their right of way costs,” said Anderson. “We’re continuing to explore ways to close that funding gap as we move forward with the Coker Butte Road overcrossing design.”

“Both the northern portion of the corridor from Corey Road to Dutton Road and the southern portion from I-5 to Poplar Drive are planned for future construction,” Leaming said.

Addressing safety The multimodal project adds sidewalks and transit-related enhancements on the existing Oregon 62 corridor. The project will also build a four-lane access-controlled expressway that provides faster travel and improved safety within and throughout the region.

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) and Project Development Team (PDT) shepherded the project since its inception in 2004. ODOT, the Federal Highway Administration, stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and the general public worked together to develop the build alternatives. The PDT included representatives from ODOT, the City of Medford, Jackson County, the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Jackson County/Medford Chamber of Commerce, the freight and trucking industry, FHWA, the CAC, and two citizens-at-large. The team was responsible for management decisions, technical quality and assisting in the successful development of the project.

“Higher crash rates at Oregon 62 corridor intersections, especially from Interstate 5 to Delta Waters Road, are a safety concern,” said Leaming. The 4.5-mile expressway will start with three lanes of eastbound traffic at Poplar and Bullock Roads near Fred Meyer. Through traffic will merge on a directional interchange across from Whittle Road. Traffic will then travel along a four-lane expressway on the east side of the Medford Airport, span over Vilas Road, and connect to the existing Crater Lake Highway near Corey Road. Traffic destined for commercial centers such as Costco, Lowe’s and Safeway will continue as is done today. According to Leever, the most challenging segment during the first construction phase is located where traffic already runs heavy, between Poplar Drive and Delta Waters Road. ODOT plans to take advantage of a wide section of its own right of way on the south side of that highway section.

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The CAC is comprised representatives of neighborhoods, businesses, and community interests. These members represent disciplines such as bicyclists, pedestrians, transit, agriculture, environmental issues and other interests. “Project staging is crucial to keep traffic moving and business accesses open,” said Leaming. “Much of the first-phase work will be completed at night or behind concrete barrier to limit the impacts to traffic.” Traffic may be shifted from one side of the roadway to the other with construction occurring behind a concrete barrier.

Fine tuning leads to $15 million savings The project’s engineering team fine-tuned the conceptual design, leading to $15 million in savings. Those changes included: • Replacing the planned connection of Justice Road and East Gregory Road with an emergency vehicle access from the expressway; and

ODOT also conducted other outreach efforts as part of the process, including public workshops. The first two project phases received $100 million from the 2009 Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act. No funding is currently programmed for future phases.

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Manager Art Anderson. “We have had a couple meetings with these property owners and look to move forward with this option.”

• Modifying the bridge over Vilas Road to accept a tighter diamond interchange design when on- and off-ramps are eventually constructed.

The Commerce Drive crossing provides the same access to the developed properties that exists today. ODOT estimates that the Coker Butte Road crossing would cost $1.8 million more than the crossing currently in the design.

Environmental Impact Statement After nearly nine years of planning and public meetings, ODOT completed the federally-required Final Environmental Impact Statement in spring 2013. The milestone is necessary before construction can begin.

“Most of the property owners have offered to donate their right of way costs,” said Anderson. “We’re continuing to explore ways to close that funding gap as we move forward with the Coker Butte Road overcrossing design.”

“Both the northern portion of the corridor from Corey Road to Dutton Road and the southern portion from I-5 to Poplar Drive are planned for future construction,” Leaming said.

Addressing safety The multimodal project adds sidewalks and transit-related enhancements on the existing Oregon 62 corridor. The project will also build a four-lane access-controlled expressway that provides faster travel and improved safety within and throughout the region.

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) and Project Development Team (PDT) shepherded the project since its inception in 2004. ODOT, the Federal Highway Administration, stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and the general public worked together to develop the build alternatives. The PDT included representatives from ODOT, the City of Medford, Jackson County, the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Jackson County/Medford Chamber of Commerce, the freight and trucking industry, FHWA, the CAC, and two citizens-at-large. The team was responsible for management decisions, technical quality and assisting in the successful development of the project.

“Higher crash rates at Oregon 62 corridor intersections, especially from Interstate 5 to Delta Waters Road, are a safety concern,” said Leaming. The 4.5-mile expressway will start with three lanes of eastbound traffic at Poplar and Bullock Roads near Fred Meyer. Through traffic will merge on a directional interchange across from Whittle Road. Traffic will then travel along a four-lane expressway on the east side of the Medford Airport, span over Vilas Road, and connect to the existing Crater Lake Highway near Corey Road. Traffic destined for commercial centers such as Costco, Lowe’s and Safeway will continue as is done today. According to Leever, the most challenging segment during the first construction phase is located where traffic already runs heavy, between Poplar Drive and Delta Waters Road. ODOT plans to take advantage of a wide section of its own right of way on the south side of that highway section.

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The CAC is comprised representatives of neighborhoods, businesses, and community interests. These members represent disciplines such as bicyclists, pedestrians, transit, agriculture, environmental issues and other interests. “Project staging is crucial to keep traffic moving and business accesses open,” said Leaming. “Much of the first-phase work will be completed at night or behind concrete barrier to limit the impacts to traffic.” Traffic may be shifted from one side of the roadway to the other with construction occurring behind a concrete barrier.

Fine tuning leads to $15 million savings The project’s engineering team fine-tuned the conceptual design, leading to $15 million in savings. Those changes included: • Replacing the planned connection of Justice Road and East Gregory Road with an emergency vehicle access from the expressway; and

ODOT also conducted other outreach efforts as part of the process, including public workshops. The first two project phases received $100 million from the 2009 Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act. No funding is currently programmed for future phases.

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I-5: Glendale to Hugo Paving and Sexton Climbing Lane project With most construction work conducted off Interstate 5 during the winter, motorists might be inclined to think the I-5: Glendale to Hugo Paving and Sexton Climbing Lane project is finished. However, that’s not the case. Work continued on curbs, inlets and erosion control. Once the weather improves (drier and warmer), prime contractor Knife River Corporation of Central Point will tackle a short list of items to wrap up the $28 million improvement project. “When it warms up, we’ll work on the Sunny Valley (exit 71) and Glendale (exit 80) bridge decks, along with some final paving, striping and fencing,” said ODOT Project Manager Ted Paselk, “and then the project will be a wrap.”

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By late last summer, the most visible work — excavation and rock blasting to construct a new, northbound Sexton Mountain truck climbing lane — wrapped up, allowing Knife River Corporation to transition into paving and striping work and making safety improvements along the project’s 17-mile stretch of I-5 from Hugo north to Glendale. The project’s safety improvements included adjusting the southbound curves located south of Smith Hill. The new 12-foot climbing lane for commercial trucks, notorious for a slow climb over Sexton Mountain, extends 2.8 miles from the northbound on-ramp at the Hugo (exit 66) interchange and ends just beyond the crest of the Sexton Mountain pass. The climbing lane was partially built on the former shoulder, which was replaced with a new, 10-foot shoulder built to the right of the truck climbing lane.

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Rock blasting Last summer, ODOT used rolling slowdowns to keep traffic moving during the blasting stage. Pilot vehicles slowed I-5 traffic to roughly 30 miles an hour from both Glendale and Rogue River. I-5 on-ramps in the project area were also temporarily closed during the rolling slowdowns. “The rolling slowdowns gave Knife River about 20 minutes to blast and clean up any rock that blew onto the highway,” Paselk said. Climbing lane construction required closing the I-5 emergency shoulder and placing concrete barriers to separate traffic from construction work. According to Paselk, an estimated 250,000 cubic yards of soil and rock were moved to clear room for the new northbound truck climbing lane. Knife River transferred the material to three locations along I-5 — the Merlin interchange, the Hugo interchange and slightly north of the Hugo interchange along Old Highway 99. “There was enough material to fill nearly 14,000 18-yard dump trucks,” Paselk said. “Most importantly, these fill locations reduced the hauling cost and, by extension, reduced the overall project cost.”

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Steep climbs Motorists encounter many of the steepest grades on the interstate highway system in southern Oregon. The I-5 shoulders, designed to provide a safe refuge for disabled vehicles, are sometimes used by commercial trucks to navigate southern Oregon’s mountain passes. Trucks using the shoulder cause significant damage that requires frequent repair. While most freeway climbs are built on grades of 5 percent or less, the northbound I-5 lanes on Sexton Mountain present a 6.13 percent grade. Trucks frequently slow to less than 30 mph during the climb. The speed difference relative to other traffic can be hazardous. When one truck attempts to pass another slow-moving vehicle, both lanes are blocked, forcing traffic to brake or change lanes to avoid a collision. Some trucks drove along the shoulder but this left no room for disabled vehicles.

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ODOT expects the new climbing lane will reduce the frequency of I-5 closures related to commercial trucks, especially during winter driving conditions. The new climbing lane is built to today’s engineering standards, thereby reducing the need for ongoing shoulder maintenance. More truck climbing lanes Over the past couple of years, ODOT added three short climbing lanes, each roughly one-mile long, on I-5 in Douglas County. The truck climbing lanes are located southbound at Rice Hill (milepost 147) and one in each direction on ‘Gumby Hill’ (milepost 137), the steep grade located between Sutherlin (exit 136) and Oakland (exits 138 and 140). Truck climbing lanes are also located further north on I-5, where a threemile section exists south of Salem, and on Interstate 84, which has a sevenmile section east of Pendleton.

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Fern Valley Interchange Project I-5 motorists brace for 25 days of single-lane traffic Construction workers and equipment are in full force at the Interstate 5 exit 24 interchange for Phoenix. With utility work wrapping up, prime contractor Hamilton Construction of Springfield began major road work on the Fern Valley Interchange project, which builds Oregon’s first crossing diamond interchange.

The $72 million Fern Valley Interchange project addresses Phoenix’s I-5 interchange. Traffic congestion is especially severe during the morning and evening commutes. Existing and proposed development along the east side of I-5 in Phoenix has reduced the capacity and created safety issues at the interchange.

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ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming listens to concerns at the Fern Valley Interchange open house.

The project area includes I-5, Oregon 99 and Fern Valley Road. Hamilton Construction crews and subcontractors are building the new Grove Road and excavating the new North Phoenix Road alignment on the east side of the I-5 interchange. The contractor will then work west toward Oregon 99. The project is designed to also realign North Phoenix Road between Peterbuilt Motors Co. and Home Depot. Due to the size and complexity of the project, more than two full construction seasons will be needed to complete the job. The project is scheduled for completion in September 2016.

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I-5 pipe crossing delays Before Memorial Day weekend, prime contractor Hamilton Construction will install a four-foot drainage pipe across I-5. The project contract stipulates that this work must be completed in a 25-day work window. Hamilton Construction will need to narrow I-5 to a single lane in each direction, so that an open trench can be dug to install the drainage pipe. Motorists will encounter significant congestions and delays during this 25-day period. “Local drivers should plan ahead, leave early and consider taking a different route to get to their destinations

Local drivers should plan ahead, leave early and consider taking a different route to get to their destinations on time. — ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming

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ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers points to a project map.

on time,” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming. “Like local drivers saw first-hand during the South Medford Interchange project, the best scenario is to leave I-5 for through traffic and have commuters take advantage of alternate routes like Oregon 99.” ODOT looked into ramming the drainage pipe under I-5 to reduce the impact on motorists. However, many large boulders were found during the study. Used as a road base, the boulders left pipe ramming as an unusable option. Information sharing “We had great attendance at our preconstruction open house in February,”

Leaming said. “Our goal is to maintain a high level of visibility throughout the length of the project. ODOT opened a temporary construction office within “The Shoppes at Exit 24” shopping mall. The office serves as a base of operations for the project inspectors, although the public is welcome to stop by the office for more information. ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers can be reached directly at 541-621-7034 or Dennis.Steers@odot.state.or.us. Steers is pounding the pavement, meeting with property owners and the general public to keep them informed of the work ahead.

We will do our best to minimize the construction impacts, but there will be impacts. — ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers

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“A major project goal is to keep construction impacts to a minimum,” said Steers. “We will use traditional media, social media and other communication resources to reach out to commuters. We want to encourage them to use alternate routes and adjust their travel plans to avoid the busiest traffic periods of the day. “We will do our best to minimize the construction impacts, but there will be impacts.” 3-D traffic simulation video “How will drivers negotiate the new interchange design?” That’s a frequent question from local drivers and Phoenix residents, including stakeholders who have followed the project’s

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long development process. A 3-D traffic simulation completed in fall 2013 shows how the new crossing diamond interchange will operate. “There is nothing like people seeing it for themselves,” Leaming said. “The video makes is much easier to explain how the interchange will look when completed.” The 3-D traffic simulation video is available online at the project website, www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ REGION3/pages/fvi_index.aspx “We learned through the project outreach for the South Medford Interchange project that a picture or, in this case, a video, is worth a thousand words,” Leaming said. “Once people see it, people will get it.”

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TripCheck cameras will capture Phoenix traffic New TripCheck cameras installed in the project area will help keep an eye on construction-related traffic. “Adding TripCheck cameras to the Fern Valley Interchange project will help people navigate the area, especially during the phases when we expect significant congestion,” said Leaming. “Again, our first challenge is the 25-day period before Memorial Day weekend when Hamilton Construction installs a four-foot drainage pipe across I-5.” The TripCheck cameras are located on the sign bridge spanning northbound I-5, roughly one mile north of the Phoenix interchange. Other cameras are being placed east and west of the I-5 interchange.

“TripCheck cameras were invaluable to the public during the South Medford Interchange project,” Leaming said. “The new cameras in Phoenix will also give motorists the information they need to avoid congestion.”

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Oregon

A Mail Tribune Advertisin Department publicatio g n

Department of Transportation

Oregon

of Department n Transportatio Advertising A Mail Tribune publication Department

December

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2012

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December

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continued from page 23 Crossing diamond design

construct an interchange with the crossing diamond design. Phoenix will be the site of the first crossing diamond design in Oregon.

The project design constructs the new interchange at a location just north of the existing bridge, leaving most roadways west of the interchange Project funding relatively untouched. The crossing The project’s design phase began diamond design has a narrow in 2004. The Fern Valley footprint, which helps avoid Through design touching nearly all the alternative was businesses during eliminated in and after the I-5 The interchange’s 2009 because it interchange crossing diamond would have an project. The adverse impact design provides a crossing diamond on nearby farm design also higher capacity to land. The Project helps keep traffic move traffic while Development congestion to a Team later reducing right of way minimum while unanimously increasing safety. needs. supported the — ODOT Project Leader North Phoenix “The interchange’s Dick Leever Through build crossing diamond alternative as part design provides a higher of the federally required capacity to move traffic environmental assessment. while reducing right of way needs,” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. The project was fully funded “Vehicles crossing the interchange thanks to a $25 million investment move to the opposite side of the from the 2009 Oregon Jobs and road to either enter I-5 or to cross it, Transportation Act (JTA), a funding reducing the number of signal cycles package based in part on increases for traffic to clear.” in truck weight-mile taxes, flat fees, registration fees, road use The Missouri Department of assessment fees, and heavy vehicle Transportation was the first public trip permit fees. agency in the United States to

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March 21, 2014

25


Rd Ph oe ni x No rth

PIPE CROSSING

Drivers! Be ready! Single-lane traffic on I-5 for 25 days

Not to scale

Home Depot Shoppe’s at Exit 24

Exit 24

d

alley R Fern V

Fern Valley Rd

Petro Truck Stop an R

d

ALTERNATE ROUTES

Unlike previous Oregon transportation bills, the JTA dedicated most of the state’s share of revenue to specific projects. The bill listed 37 projects previously approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission that must be financed by bonds. Collaboration with private contractors

One of the results of the collaborative meeting with contractors was a staged approach that sets aside a large area for unimpeded construction and builds temporary roadways and ramps, opening up the entire project area for heavy construction. March 21, 2014

“Reducing congestion during construction will be quite a trick in such a tightly-developed commercial and residential interchange area,” Leever said. “Our plans call for stages to build the new interchange while keeping I-5 and the local roadways open at the same time.” Bridge aesthetics

The project team collaborated with several private contractors in 2012 to develop construction methods best suited for the challenges ahead of this project, such as the close proximity of the new bridge ramps to the existing ramps. Significant grade differences are in store for prime contractor Hamilton Construction. For instance, the new roadway at the top of the southbound I-5 off ramp is designed to rise nearly eight feet higher than the current level.

26

South Phoenix Rd

Lum

Aesthetic features inspired by the hills and grasses — the natural colors surrounding Phoenix — are in the final design. The utilization of concrete form liners and different stains and paints presents opportunities to design a bridge with a local look instead of the drab concrete structures common when I-5 was initially built. The project team filtered through several designs with the help of Medford landscape architect, John Galbraith, before selecting aesthetics for the Fern Valley Road bridges that span I-5 and Bear Creek at exit 24.

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CTLG_InsideCover_March_Ad_02-22-14.pdf

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Moving Ahead - Spring Edition  

Moving Ahead - Spring 2014

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