ODOT Moving Ahead - November 2008

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Winter requires preparedness, partnership ����������������������������������������� I-5 at Siskiyou Summit - Looking North

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR ������������������ Jared Castle, (541) 957-3656 ���������������������������� jared.b.castle@odot.state.or.us ������������������������������� CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS �������������������� Bill Boyett, Jared Castle, ���������������������������������������� Gary Leaming ����������������������������

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��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

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����������������������������������������������������������������������� When winter arrives, ODOT maintenance ������������������������������������������������������������������������� crews in the Rogue Valley shift their sched���������������������������������������������������������� ules to provide 24-hour coverage. �������������������������������������������������������������������������� “We use the rotating schedules to keep our ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� maintenance employees fresh and ready to ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� respond to any storm, day or night,” said ���������������������������������������������������������������������� ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. Elevation 4310 TripCheck.com Milepost 4.00 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������� I-5 at Ashland, Siskiyou chain up area Crews apply sanding material and chemicals Looking North on hills, curves, bridges and other known ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� trouble spots. The chemicals work as an ������������������������������������������������������������������ anti-icer, helping prevent ice from bonding to the road before the storm, and as a de-icer, ����������������������������������������������� helping break ice from the road. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� “Our maintenance crews work hard to keep �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� the passes open during the winter storms, but ����������������������������� Elevation 2080 TripCheck.com Milepost 13.00 we need the public to do their part as well,” ����������������������������� I-5 at Ashland, Siskiyou chain up area said Marmon. “Ultimately, our success at ������������������������������� Looking South keeping roads open depends on a partner����������������������������� ship with motorists. ������������������������������ ���������������������������������� “The responsibility lies with every driver. �������������������������������� Preparation is the key to driving safely in ��������������������������������� winter conditions.” ������������� You can ask your winter travel-related ques�������������������������������� Elevation 2080 TripCheck.com Milepost 13.00 tions on the December 10 edition of Mov������������������������������������ ing Ahead with ODOT, a live talk show on ORE62 at Poplar Dr. ��������������������������������� Rogue Valley Community Television. The ��������������������������������� program starts at 6 p.m. and viewers are ������������������������������� encouraged to join in with the call-in number, ������������������������������ 552-6079. For more information, go to the ����������������������������� RVTV web site, www.roguetv.org. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� The talk show will feature winter mainte���������������������������������������������������� nance efforts on Interstate 5, specifically on Elevation 1380 TripCheck.com Milepost 1.00 the Siskiyou and Sexton Mountain passes. �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� US101 at McCullough Bridge - Looking South ���������������������������������������������������� ����������������������� ODOT provides winter driving tips �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��� online at www.oregon.gov/odot. ������������������������������������������������������� South Medford Interchange ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� Look inside for a full-color map of the traffic ���������������������������������������������������������������������� changes that are opening and closing Inter������������������������������������������������������������������������� state 5 ramps in south Medford. ��������������������������������������������������������������������������� Elevation 25 TripCheck.com Milepost 233.50 ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� While the overall project is running ahead �������������������������������������������������������������� of schedule, construction delays forced the ORE138 at ORE230 near Diamond Lake Looking West opening of the new northbound off-ramp ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� from October to earlier this week. More ���������������������������������������� traffic changes are coming, so be on the lookout for project updates. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ Construction updates and a video are �����������������������������������

available on the project Web site, www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

Elevation 5200

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Milepost 83.00


January is now the release date for the Fern Valley Interchange project’s federally-required Environmental Assessment (EA). “We were hoping for an earlier roll-out but some of the details in the traffic reports needed additional modeling, as well as various measures in the Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP),” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. The Draft EA will evaluate the two alternatives – a mix of previous concepts and those submitted by the Phoenix Association of Business and Property Owners. A 30-day public comment period begins once the draft EA is published. The comment period includes an open house to be held in Phoenix so the public can provide feedback on the alternatives.

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According to Leever, the IAMP is still being refined. After nearly a year of stakeholder meetings and input, the plan went before the Phoenix Planning Commission and City Council. The IAMP is a planning document that examines future development near the interchange while also protecting the public’s investment in the roadway system. IAMPs coordinate current and future land uses and transportation improvements to ensure the safe and efficient movement of people and goods to, through, from, and within the area. This is done by analyzing current land uses and traffic conditions, and future land uses and traffic conditions. Based on the results of the analysis, the study may recommend changes to allowable land uses near the interchange, or changes to the local street network and nearby intersections. The IAMP is a new requirement of the Oregon Transportation Commission, which sets policy for ODOT. “The combination of recent growth and the potential for future development in the immediate area shows the need for planning to protect the function of the Fern Valley interchange,” said ODOT Planner John McDonald. “The IAMP strikes a balance between protecting the function of the interchange while allowing the maximum amount of development in the Phoenix area.” Construction on the estimated $70 million project is currently scheduled to begin in 2012. The project Web site offers draft technical reports, maps of the two design alternatives as well as archives from the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Project Development Team.

For more information go online to: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/fvi_index.shtml.

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$25.7 million project targets I-5 bridges near Ashland The Neil Creek Bridge replacement project on Interstate 5 went into hiatus earlier this month. The bridge, located three miles south of Ashland, is one of five I-5 bridges being replaced in the Ashland area.

After nearly 50 years, the bridges must be replaced to meet modern traffic and freight requirements. Motorists are advised to watch for traffic shifts and occasional lane closures as construction progresses on the bridges.

The Neil Creek Bridge is in the Siskiyou summit snow zone. Prime contractor Hamilton Construction Co. of Springfield, Ore. will resume work on the bridge in the spring.

Ashland’s I-5 interchanges Drivers are seeing orange-vested survey crews working at Ashland’s I-5 interchanges. The crews, which are taking measurements, are a prelude to construction work that is currently scheduled to begin in 2010 on the exit 14 and exit 19 interchange bridges.

“Construction through the winter would not only be difficult given the unpredictable snow levels but the safety of workers and motorists would be at risk, too,” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming.

“There are a number of improvements that However, work will continue on the four will be made,” said ODOT Area Manager other bridges – spanning Eagle Mill Road Art Anderson. “Our agency is sensitive The Neil Creek bridge replacement project on interstate 5 is in hiatus until spring 2009. and Bear Creek – included in the to Ashland’s needs. We’ll have an extensive $25.7 million project. outreach program with nearby businesses, residents and the community at large.” “The contractor has made great strides this spring and summer,” said Leaming. “The overall project hasn’t quite reached the halfway point yet. Construc- According to Anderson, the City of Ashland will take the lead between now tion is scheduled to continue through November 2009.” and April 2009 in selecting the aesthetic designs while still staying within project’s schedule and budget. Age, weather and heavy use have taken their toll on the five I-5 bridges.

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SMI project reaches new milestone with first ramp opening The northbound Interstate 5 off-ramp for the new South Medford Interchange project opened to traffic earlier this week. The opening is the first of two stages where new ramps will open and old ramps at the Barnett Road interchange will close.

Once traffic shifts to the new interchange, Wildish Standard Paving will begin replacing the Bear Creek Bridge on Barnett Road. Over its 60-year lifespan, the Bear Creek Bridge has experienced higher and higher traffic volumes. Today, more than 35,000 vehicles per day pass over the bridge, which spans Interstate 5 at exit 27.

Prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene has rescheduled the southbound on-ramp opening for early January. “We had hoped to have these two ramps open in October,” said Gary Leaming, ODOT Project Information Specialist. “We’ve been looking forward to this milestone all year.”

During the six-month construction stage, Barnett Road will be closed to through traffic. Businesses in the area include Black Bear Restaurant, Dairy Queen and four motels – Motel 6 Medford South, Best Western Inn, Days Inn and Travelodge Medford.

According to ODOT Project Manager Joe Thomas, these two stages mark the first major shift for local traffic flow in the interchange area. (A full-color map of the new traffic configuration is on pages 6-7).

“We examined ways to rebuild the bridge in the least amount of time and with the fewest impacts to local traffic,” said Thomas.

“The new northbound on-ramp opening will be another critical piece to the project because it Construction work focused on the new northbound off-ramp. According to Thomas, clears the way for construction temporary bridges were not without delaying traffic,” said Thomas. a viable solution for this construction phase due to the traffic volumes and expected delays on Barnett Road Barring any further delays, the $70 million project as well as the additional time that would be added to should have the new interchange in operation by the the overall project schedule. The new bridge will touch end of spring 2009. down near the Black Bear Diner. According to Leaming, ODOT will launch an information campaign in the weeks before the full interchange opens. The campaign will include distributing maps to hotels, fuel stations, restaurants, medical offices and other local businesses.

“Wildish knows how important this link is to businesses and residents in south Medford,” said Bill Boyett, ODOT Public Service Representative.

SMI Project background The South Medford Interchange project is designed to improve safety and reduce congestion. The centerpiece of the project is construction of a new interchange 1,900 feet south of the existing Barnett Road exit (exit 27). The new interchange design is called a single point urban interchange (SPUI), which can handle large volumes of traffic. The SPUI is located close to Bear Creek, so additional bridges are needed to accommodate the retaining walls for the on- and off-ramps. The project went to bid in 2006 after more than seven years of development. The City of Medford is contributing $15 million toward the project. A project Solution Team and Citizens Advisory Committee worked through more than 20 different concepts to develop the design. The Highland Alternative was identified as the preferred alternative. Construction updates and a video are available on the project Web site, www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/ region3.

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Safe winter driving starts with a trip check, preparation Preparation is the best protection for you and your vehicle during winter. While there’s no sure-fire way to prevent breakdowns on the road, you can avoid many problems before you even leave your driveway.

traffic and the drivers’ experience,” ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon said. “When we announce chains are required on the Siskiyous, everyone has to chain up except vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive.”

“The first thing you need to do is get a basic check, a 52-point inspection,” said Lisa McClease-Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Tool Box in Grants Pass and Kelly’s Technical Automotive in Medford. “Trip checks are very important. We see a ton of tow-ins, especially during the holidays, with people from Portland or San Francisco who didn’t do a trip check first.

Winter Driving Tips

“Just a basic trip check would save them a lot of hassle.”

• Include battery booster cables, road flares, a properly inflated spare tire, vehicle jack, lug wrench and a basic tool kit;

Kelly said drivers should know their vehicle’s basic functions and be attentive while driving. Often problems occur when a driver simply ignores a noise. “If you are hearing a noise, don’t keep driving,” Kelly said. “We’ve seen many people blow up their engines because they just keep pushing their vehicle further down the highway.” Kelly offers a free car care clinic for women. If you are interested in attending, contact Elizabeth Baines at 830-4005. ODOT provides winter driving safety tips, including tips on chaining up and driving with chains, online at www.oregon.gov/odot.

Siskiyou Pass The Siskiyou Pass is also the only mountain pass in Oregon where all-weather or studded tires cannot be substituted for chains. “We got to a higher standard on Siskiyou Pass because of the grades, the

To ensure your vehicle is properly equipped for winter driving, the ODOT Traffic Safety Division offers these tips: • Carry a windshield scraper, snow brush, warm weather clothes (especially gloves and boots), and an emergency kit;

• Make sure your fuel tank is full; • Pack a small shovel, cat litter or sand for traction and a plastic tarp to help keep you dry when installing tire chains or in case you get stuck; • Don’t forget to carry water and any medications you need to take; • Take your cell phone with fully-charged extra batteries; and • If you travel with a baby, pack extra food, warm clothes and blankets, toys and games, and extra diapers. Properly use your child safety seat.

Santa reminds everyone to carry chains in snow zones.

Check the highways first Southwest Oregon features three new road cameras on TripCheck. com, the award-winning travel information Web site. Two new cameras are along U.S. 101 – on the McCullough Bridge north of Coos Bay and in Reedsport. The third is located on Interstate 5 at Barton Road, north of the Douglas-Josephine county line.

Cell phones, PDAs Go to www.TripCheck.com/mobile. An easy-to-use menu offers access to traffic alerts, incident information, road conditions, and traveler services. You can also create and save a list of the cameras you check most often.

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5-1-1 service TripCheck’s information is available over the phone at 511. If your phone company doesn’t support the 511 service, dial our other toll-free number 800-977-ODOT (6368). From outside the state of Oregon, dial 503-588-2941. Use TripCheck 511 system’s voice recognition system to ‘speak’ your instructions into the system, just follow the prompts provided.

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The Rogue Valley features 12 road cameras, including multiple cameras on the Siskiyou and Sexton Mountain passes.


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Safety project complete on Redwood Highway The first of three Oregon Department of Transportation safety projects planned along U.S. Highway 199 in Grants Pass is complete. The U.S. Highway 199 Expressway: Unit One project improved safety along more than two miles of the corridor’s west side from Rogue Community College to Midway Avenue, a section of highway notorious for being one of Oregon’s most crash-prone sections. “Having the safety improvements – median and barrier – on this section will make a big difference,” said ODOT Project Leader Jayne Randleman. The $3 million project installed medians to channel turning traffic and a raised median to stop a vehicle from crossing into the opposite lanes of travel. The project accommodated U-turns at Hubbard Lane and a wider intersection at Midway Avenue. All of the work will be made using existing highway right of way. The second unit from Rogue Community College to Dowell Road is currently in design and is scheduled to go to bid in 2010.

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Wyden visits Medford to push for federal stimulus package U.S. Senator Ron Wyden recently stopped in Medford as part of his statewide tour to push for a new federal stimulus package. Standing with local leaders from the City of Medford and Jackson County on the morning of Nov. 7, Wyden pressed his case for infrastructure funding. “I think dollar for dollar these transportation projects give you a lot more of an economic boost and make your economy healthier for today and tomorrow,” Wyden said. Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith agreed with Wyden.

“We are grateful that Senator Wyden continues to push for infrastructure funding in the economic stimulus and hope Congress will take up this challenge,” Mather said.

Highway 62 draft EIS set for 2009 release Good things come to those who wait and ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever hopes that holds true for the Highway 62 Corridor’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), a federally-required environmental document. “We’d hoped to have the DEIS put to bed by now but the technical team found the regional traffic models needed updating,” said Leever.

“We simply don’t have enough revenue to support the road system that we have in light of the reduced timber revenues,” Smith said. “[Infrastructure funding] provides direct jobs in the community.”

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden listens as Jackson County Commissioner C.W. Smith points to declining pavement conditions.

“There’s tremendous need for highway investments in Oregon, and there are many opportunities to invest federal money in projects that would produce thousands of living-wage jobs quickly,” said Travis Brouwer, ODOT Federal Affairs adviser. ODOT Region Manager Paul Mather spoke with Wyden and local transportation stakeholders at the event. According to Mather, these investments would pay off long-term returns by building a safer and more efficient transportation system that would reduce the costs associated with inadequate roads in terms of congestion, car crashes, and wear and tear on vehicles.

• The Existing Highway Alternative would merge the bypass with Highway 62 from I-5 to near the Butler Truck Center and Lava Lanes. Due to high traffic volumes, there would be no access from there west to I-5. The Poplar/Bullock intersection would change into either an underpass or overpass.

More information is online at: www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

Based on 2008 dollars, about 14 family-wage jobs are sustained for every $1 million spent on transportation construction in Oregon.

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• The Split-Diamond Alternative would modify the existing ramps north of Interstate 5 exit 30 to accommodate bypass traffic. Motorists would travel on a separate road from I-5 to White City. The existing alignment on Oregon Highway 62 would remain as is with full access to businesses.

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In addition to cities’ and counties’ needs, ODOT developed a $564 million list of more than 100 projects, including modernization, bridge repairs, paving, safety, and other projects that would be good candidates for funding under an economic stimulus package. These projects are ready to go and could be under construction in summer 2009, producing jobs in highway construction and related industries quickly.

The project proposes to build a bypass for through traffic from the north Medford interchange to White City. The corridor alternatives would allow through traffic to travel on an access-controlled highway and leave Highway 62 as it currently is with full access to streets and driveways. There are several variations of the route to avoid development or natural resources. Here are the two options for the south end of the bypass:


I-5 bridge construction keeps busy around Grants Pass The end of the summer construction season won’t signal a pause for three bridge replacement projects along Interstate 5 around Grants Pass. Prime contractor Holm II of Stayton, Ore., is demolishing and rebuilding two I-5 bridges at exit 55 and a new, southbound Louse Creek bridge at the Merlin exit 61. Meanwhile, prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene, Ore. is constructing two, new I-5 bridges that span Beacon Drive, a local Grants Pass street. I-5 traffic is currently traveling on temporary bridges in the work zones to accommodate the bridge construction. “Both contractors will be very busy this winter,” said Project Manager Chris Hunter. Hunter said there are additional challenges with the work at exit 55 because the southbound bridge is near the point where local traffic merges onto I-5 from Grants Pass and the curvature of the interstate itself.

I-5 northbound traffic drives past the bridge construction work at Grants Pass exit 55.

Beacon Drive, mile post 57 The work zone between the two Grants Pass interchanges is narrowed to a single lane in each direction and will remain in that configuration until Memorial Day 2009. “We expect to see longer delays during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Hunter. “Traffic volumes increase significantly on the Wednesday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.”

America’s dirty little secret Vehicles travel beneath the interstate 5 bridges under construction at Grants Pass exit 55.

“Constructing the bridges at exit 55 is really going to be a challenge because the location is on the edge of a hillside,” Hunter said. “This section of I-5 is on a curve and has a tilt, or super, to accommodate traffic at interstate speeds.”

Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

Keep it clean.

Louse Creek, exit 61 Crews are currently working on the new southbound I-5 bridge. Motorists can expect nighttime ramp closures with delays of up to 20 minutes.

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564 “A” Street � Ashland, Oregon

C437327-11/21

MOVING AHEAD November 2008

11


RESPECT THE PASS!

The Siskiyou Pass, commonly called “The Siskiyous,” is one of the most hazardous stretches of road on Interstate 5. The summit is at an elevation of 4,310 feet and you’ll lose about 2,300 feet of elevation in six miles at a 6% downgrade while maneuvering through sharp curves and some of the most hazardous visibility (fog) and road surface conditions in Oregon. Almost 15,000 vehicles travel this stretch of highway daily and about half of the vehicles involved in accidents here are commercial trucks with trailers.

TRUCKER WARNING

Extreme Caution Urged Escape ramps are located northbound at MP 6.3 and 9.5. When in doubt about snow and ice conditions, chain-up your truck. It’s better to be over-prepared than to jackknife and then wish you’d chained up.

Why Chain-Up Here? Chain-up areas are located ahead of inspection sites so that chains can be installed with ample shoulder space. Sometimes this needs to be done some distance from the snow line itself. Highway personnel are there to help you get over the pass safely. Be cooperative. Work with them. If you are not fully chained-up prior to the inspection site you will be turned around! When required, chains must be installed prior to the inspection sites located at MP 1 northbound and MP 11 southbound.

When is it the Best Time to Go Over the Pass? Mother Nature is hard to figure. At night temperatures drop and freezing is common. Fresh snow is the slickest early in the morning when the sun comes up. Midday is usually the best time to travel over the pass.

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Motor carriers can obtain information and services about trucking regulations and Oregon permits at the Ashland Port of Entry, located on I-5 at MP 18 northbound.

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DOT Registration Information

ASHLAND MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

I-5

• Remember to check brakes before entering the downgrade. • Be aware of the safe recommended speed for your vehicle. • Posted speeds are maximums in good weather. Bad weather demands slower speeds. • Fog, snow, and black ice are common between October and April. Be prepared! • Descend the summit in the proper gear. • Oregon law requires that you carry and use tire chains when conditions warrant and/or signs posted. • Be sure you have emergency warning devices (triangles) and use them if you are stopped. • Be sure all your lights are working. • Don’t drive if you’re fatigued!

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WY.

LOWER TRUCK ESCAPE RAMP M.P. 9.5 NORTHBOUND

UPPER TRUCK ESCAPE RAMP M.P. 6.3 NORTHBOUND

BRAKE INSPECTION AREA

BEGIN 6% DOWNGRADE NORTHBOUND

BRAKE INSPECTION AREA

OREGON CALIFORNIA