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A Mail Tribune advertising department publication

NOV 2009

12

Department of Transportation

Oregon


The Usual Suspects As the snow level drops in the Rogue Valley… ...You can spot skiers and snowboarders, rocking back and forth on their toes – nearly vibrating in their shoes – eager to land on a mountain. Salespeople are beaming, busily dusting off space heaters, stacking cozy comforter displays and touting the added value of double knit, long underwear. And then there are the long faces, the ‘droopy dogs’; people who dread winter, cursing with frozen breath at every cold and wet snowflake that touches the ground. They are ‘The Usual Suspects’ — stuck in the snow on Interstate 5. “A big snowstorm really tests motorists’ patience,” said Jerry Marmon, ODOT District Manager for Jackson and Josephine counties. “High traffic volumes and low driver experience makes it a challenge to keep the road open when a snowstorm hits, especially on the Siskiyou and Sexton passes.” The Siskiyou Pass presents a unique challenge. When a storm hits southern Oregon, the agency’s highest priority is this ten-mile stretch on I-5, due to its importance as a freight route and high traffic volumes. ODOT maintenance crews provide 24-hour coverage during winter. To keep the roads open, their arsenal includes snowplows, pusher trucks, de-icer chemicals and sanding materials. Storm-related delays and short-term closures on the Siskiyou Pass are common during winter; however, motorists are often ill-equipped for winter travel. “We see people unprepared for a long wait in their car,” Marmon said. “They travel I-5 in shorts and tennis shoes. No gloves, no flashlight, but there they are, bent over in the snow at night, trying to chain up.” Winter storms can happen suddenly. According to Marmon, drivers who don’t carry chains or traction tires contribute to the long delays. Sometimes it only takes one truck to spin out to close the highway. “Our maintenance crews prepare for winter and we ask the public to do the same,” Marmon said. “If you have to travel during a storm come prepared for the worst. Expect to encounter long delays and chain requirements.” EDITORIAL DIRECTORS Jared Castle, (541) 957-3656 jared.b.castle@odot.state.or.us Gary Leaming, (541) 774-6388 gary.w.leaming@odot.state.or.us CONTRIBUTORS Kristine DeVries, Publications Supervisor Bret Jackson, Graphic Design Steve Johnson, Photography

ADVERTISING Tim Tergeoglou, (541) 776-4356 ttergeoglou@mailtribune.com For information on advertising in this publication please contact: Patti Phillips-Kahn (541) 776-4446 pphillips-kahn@dailytidings.com

Cover photo credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Steve Johnson

The Mail Tribune Advertising Department provides professional production and design services to market your business in print and on the internet. 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/affi rmative action employer committed to a diverse workforce. Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities. Alternate formats available upon request

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November 2009

MOVING AHEAD

To avoid being one of ‘The Usual Suspects’ on Siskiyou Pass this winter, check out the pre-trip tips for winter travel available online at www.oregon.gov/odot/comm/winterdriving.


Rock Point Bridge closure extended through May 2010

Prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene requested a three-month extension to rehabilitate the Rock Point Bridge, which spans the Rogue River northwest of Gold Hill near Interstate 5 Exit 43. The full bridge closure, which began September 8, could now take as long as eight months, reopening in late May 2010. The $3.9 million bridge rehabilitation project replaces the railing and deck and repairs cracked concrete. ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming characterized the extension as a safety cushion for the nearly 90-year old historic structure. “Wildish requested the extension in case they run into a surprise that requires additional repair work,” Leaming said. “The crew will spend the rest of this year removing the old bridge rails. In January, they will build forms for the new railing and begin prepping the bridge deck.” The current detour directs drivers to use I-5 Exit 40. In addition to coordinating with local tourism destinations, the Del Rio Vineyard and The Oregon Vortex, ODOT notified emergency services and the Central Point School District to make necessary adjustments during the bridge closure.

Bridge history ODOT bridge engineers placed a 10,000-pound weight restriction on the Rock Point Bridge in October 1999. Repair work strengthened the crossbeams that support the deck slab. The bridge originally opened in 1920 and the south approach was replaced in 1953. The Rock Point Bridge was designed by Oregon’s legendary bridge designer Conde B. McCullough. The bridge length is 505 feet while the main arch span is 113 feet. According to Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon, construction was a challenge: “Because of the great depth of water at the bridge location, it was impossible to build falsework under the main arch span. The contractor (Parker and Banfield, Portland) solved the problem by building a temporary wood truss span over the bridge to give support to the forms.”

For more information about the rehabilitation work, visit the project Web site: oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/234_rock_point_ bridge.shtml.

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Final stage near completion on $70 million SMI project

On pace to finish well ahead of its October 2010 completion date, the South Medford Interchange project is wrapping up its last major construction stage, replacement of the Barnett Road-Bear Creek Bridge.

weighed more than 86 tons. According to Leaming, the beams were easily the largest of the more than 200 pre-cast bridge beams used in the South Medford Interchange project.

“We have the new Interstate 5 interchange fully open to traffic, so the contractor is working on a fast-track schedule to replace the bridge and reopen Barnett Road to traffic,” said ODOT Project Manager Joe Thomas.

Wildish Standard Paving started making preparations for the bridge replacement in 2008. A work bridge skeleton was built in Bear Creek, which sped up the mobilization efforts to demolish and replace the existing bridge.

Prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene completed roadway reconstruction on Barnett Road in October.

Project background

“We had a good break in the weather that allowed us to finish pave everything up to the edge of the new bridge,” Thomas said. “When the road reopens, it will be wider, with bike lanes and sidewalks that match the new bridge.”

‘Monster’ beams arrived early The longest bridge beams used on the project were scheduled for delivery in October. Their arrival in late September helped advance the work schedule. “The beams were really amazing to see,” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming. “The beams were delivered from Harrisburg and dominated the construction site.”

November 2009

MOVING AHEAD

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Construction updates and a video are available on the project Web site, www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

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The $70 million project went to bid in 2006 after more than seven years of development and with the City of Medford contributing $15 million. A project Solution Team and Citizens Advisory Committee worked through more than 20 different concepts to develop the final design, the Highland Alternative. The South Medford Interchange project is the largest state highway project in the Rogue Valley since I-5 was built.

Each beam measured 172 feet in length, seven and a half feet in height and

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Designed to improve safety and reduce congestion, the South Medford Interchange project constructs nine new bridges with the centerpiece a new I-5 interchange. The new interchange is known as a single point urban interchange (SPUI), a design that handles larger volumes of traffic while using a smaller footprint than traditional interchange designs.


JTA directs $100 million to Highway 62 multi-modal project Hailed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski as the “greenest transportation package in state history”, the 2009 Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA, House Bill 2001) will tackle the heaviest traffic and congestion conditions in southern Oregon. The JTA dedicated $100 million for Unit 2 of the Highway 62 Corridor Project, providing a green light to complete design and a 2013 target to begin construction of a multi-modal transportation solution. ODOT traffic analysis shows traffic volume on Highway 62 is almost as high as that found on Interstate 5 and it is expected to double within 20 years. Highway 62 Corridor Project Unit 1 improved the north Medford interchange, realigning the I-5 ramps and reducing congestion around Exit 30. Unit 2 builds an access-controlled expressway for through traffic from the north Medford interchange toward White City. “Our goal is to apply the funds we have and extend as far into the corridor as possible to alleviate traffic congestion,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson. “Unit 2 will build on the improvements constructed around the north Medford interchange and provide a solid foundation for future stages.” “The existing Highway 62 corridor will continue to function as a service corridor, providing the goods and services people need,” Anderson said.

Expressway alternatives

considering expressway options for the federally-required environmental document, known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Both alternatives parallel the Old Medco Haul Road between White City and Medford with different connecting points.

According to ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming, either expressway alternative could cost more than $400 million to fully construct. “The solution must be built in stages as funding becomes available,” Leaming said. “However, Unit 2 provides a multi-modal solution that not only addresses transit, bicycles, and pedestrians but also provides a solid foundation for a Unit 3 project in the future.”

The existing Highway 62 corridor will continue to function as a service corridor, providing the goods and services people need. ODOT Area Manager — Art Anderson

Additional project information is available online at www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

The project’s Citizens Advisory Committee and Project Development Team are

JTA in the Rogue Valley The Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) is one of the largest, bi-partisan funding package ever passed in Oregon, raising $300 million annually in new revenue dedicated to the state’s transportation system. The JTA delivers major transportation investments in the Rogue Valley, including: • $100 million for the Highway 62 Corridor Project in Medford; • $25 million for Fern Valley Interchange in Phoenix; • $10 million for Interstate 5 Truck Climbing Lane Project on Mt. Sexton.

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ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson said all three projects received support from regional transportation stakeholder groups, including the Transportation Advocacy Committee (TRADCO), the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation (RVACT), and The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County.

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Preparation is important for safe winter driving ODOT encourages drivers to prepare their vehicles for winter driving conditions and drive with extra caution. Before traveling to areas that may have hazardous conditions, make sure your vehicle is ready: • Ensure the heater and defroster work properly. • Test all lights. Carry spare light bulbs. • Use antifreeze that works to -25°F; check and fill washer and other fluids and make sure hoses aren’t loose or brittle. • Keep wipers clean and in good condition; fill the wind shield washer tank. • Make certain your battery is fully charged (also check battery age and make sure cables are not loose or corroded). • Ensure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated for best traction, including your spare. • Carry chains or use traction tires in winter. • Keep an automotive safety kit in your vehicle.

Make sure your vehicle is stocked with the following: • • • • •

Rechargeable flashlight Cell phone and car adaptor Extra food and water Flares Tools: jack, lug wrench, shovel • Road maps • Blanket/sleeping bag(s) • Extra warm clothes, boots, hat and gloves • First aid kit • Pocket knife • Matches or lighter • Battery jumper cables • Ice scraper and snow brush • Paper towels • Extra washer fluid • Chains or traction tires • A full fuel tank

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If you travel with an infant or baby, pack extra food, warm clothes and blankets, toys and games, and extra diapers, just in case. Remember to use your child safety seat properly.

Before leaving, tell a family member or friend of your planned route and when you anticipate arriving. Keep them updated on any major route or arrival changes.

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November 2009

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In Oregon, it’s important to learn how to install your chains before snow storms strike. Travelers putting on chains at the last minute can block lanes, impeding other drivers and making it difficult for crews to sand and plow the road. By putting your chains on early, you’ll do your part to keep traffic moving. Practice installing your chains at home when the weather is fair. Here are some tips on chaining up and driving with chains: • Check your vehicle operator’s manual for the right type and size of chains to use. Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. • Ensure chains are the proper size. Do not deflate tires to install chains. • Don’t wait until you lose control of your vehicle before chaining up. • Pull over to a safe and level area to install or remove chains. • Take along a waterproof tarp or plastic sheet to help keep you dry. • Keep children and pets safe in your car to avoid distraction and injury. • Pull over and stop if any part of a tire chain fails or comes loose. • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Avoid spinning or locking your wheels.

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Winter driving information in the ODOT News Room: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/winterdriving.shtml ODOT winter maintenance photos and videos: www.flickr.com/oregondot/ www.youtube.com/OregonDOT On Twitter: @oregondot Winter driving tips brochure available online in English and in Spanish: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/ For road conditions in Oregon, call 511 or (800) 977-ODOT (6368). Outside Oregon, dial (503) 588-2941. Reports are updated continuously and available 24 hours a day. Visit TripCheck.com for road and weather conditions, incidents and traffic delays. Links to cameras on many mountain passes and major routes give real-time views of road conditions. The site also provides links to bus, train and airport information as well as lodging, Sno-Parks, restaurants, attractions and other traveler services. For questions about winter road maintenance or other issues, contact ODOT at (888) ASK ODOT.

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New snow zone condition added to chain regulations

TripCheck.com and 511 provide winter travel news

The Oregon Department of Transportation has amended the state’s chain regulations to add a new snow zone condition. The change addresses situations where chains are not needed for tandem drive axle trucks but are needed for other vehicles. The Oregon Trucking Association requested the change.

Need to check the pass conditions for Siskiyou or Sexton mountains? Look no further than TripCheck.com, the Oregon Department of Transportation’s travel information Web site. The TripCheck.com network of cameras now includes more than 200 cameras statewide.

Under the new condition, when signs are posted, you must use chains on any single drive axle vehicle rated over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) and you must use chains if your vehicle is towing and less than 10,000 GVW (such as a pickup towing a boat). Chains must also be used on the trailer or vehicle being towed. Under this condition, chains are not required on tandem drive axle vehicles. “There are times when large multi axle trucks might not need to put on chains, but single drive axle trucks over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or vehicles towing trailers will need to chain up,” said ODOT District Manager Jerry Marmon. “The new chain condition is another tool for ODOT to use during inclement weather conditions and we expect it will help keep traffic moving with fewer tie-ups.”

Winter weather conditions can occur almost any time “It’s a good idea to carry chains whenever you travel, especially in fall and winter months,” said ODOT Maintenance and Operations Engineer Luci Moore, “Oregon law requires you to carry chains in snow zones, regardless of the weather conditions.” In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used. This is known as a conditional road closure and may occur on any of Oregon’s highways. “Regardless of whether the chains required signs are posted, it is every driver’s responsibility to maintain control of their vehicle at all times,” said Marmon. Drivers who disobey the signs requiring chains or traction tires are subject to a traffic infraction, $190 for failure to obey snow zone signs and $544 for failure of a commercial vehicle to use chains.

Chain information including snow zone notices, chain requirements and diagrams are posted on Oregon’s travel information Web site, www.tripcheck.com.

Cell phones, PDAs Oregon road condition information is available for cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The new service provides incident information, road closures, traveler services, camera views and more, formatted specifically for the smaller screens of mobile devices. Users simply go to the site on their mobile device, www.TripCheck.com or www.TripCheck.com/mobile. An easy-to-use menu offers access to traffic alerts, incident information, road conditions, and traveler services. In addition, cameras within three miles of a reported incident are linked directly to that incident for quick visual checking. Users can also create and save a list of the cameras they check most often. The new mobile site also offers easy links to restaurants, lodging, gas stations, camping and attractions. Users simply follow the menu to find options, select one and click the link to dial the hotel directly.

5-1-1 service ODOT’s phone system provides the same road condition information as TripCheck.com, simply dial 511. Please be aware that some phone companies in Oregon do not support the 511 dialing option. If your carrier is among this group, please dial our other toll-free number 800-977-ODOT (6368). If you are dialing from outside the state of Oregon, please dial 503-588-2941. Use TripCheck 511 system’s voice recognition system to ‘speak’ your instructions into the system, just follow the prompts provided. This can speed your use of the system and make selection easier, particularly for cell phone users. The system will also allow you to interrupt the information being presented if you want to navigate to another menu. For instance, speak ‘highway’ at continued on page 9

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ODOT talk show airs tonight

continued from page 8

any time and the system will return you to the Road Conditions by Highway menu option.

Seven new cameras in southwest Oregon Southwest Oregon features seven new road cameras on TripCheck.com, the award-winning travel information Web site. • Oregon 42 – Coos County-Douglas County line and Camus Mountain; • US 101 – Port Orford and Gold Beach;

Winter driving safety in the Rogue Valley is the topic of tonight’s episode of Moving Ahead with ODOT, which airs live at 6 p.m. on Rogue Valley Community Television (RVTV) government channels in Jackson and Josephine counties. The ODOT talk show features a live call-in segment so viewers are encouraged to join in and ask transportation-related questions. The number to call is 541.552.6079. Moving Ahead with ODOT broadcasts live on the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. The November episode of Moving Ahead with ODOT will rebroadcast throughout the month. Rebroadcast dates and times are available online at the RVTV web site: www.roguetv.org.

• Oregon 140 – Doak Mountain; • Interstate 5 – north of Grants Pass at Barton Road.

Grants Pass DMV stays open The Grants Pass DMV office in Grants Pass will remain open for business at its current location until at least mid-December.

The Rogue Valley features 12 road cameras, including multiple cameras on Interstate 5 for the Siskiyou and Sexton passes.

The Department of Administrative Services, which handles property leases for state agencies, reached agreement with the current landlord to allow DMV to stay an additional two months. The Grants Pass business hours will remain the same – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Wednesdays, when the office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All DMV office locations and business hours are listed at OregonDMV.com, and some services are available by mail and online.

Custom pages You can select up to 10 camera images by clicking camera icons on the Oregon map. On TripCheck, click on the “Cameras” tab. Click “View” to see the Custom Cam page with the images you’ve selected. If you like your custom cam page, save it. The page will appear as a link. Open it at any time to get the latest visual of your commute or trip, or share it with friends, family, or coworkers. ADVERTISEMENT

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November 2009

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Students dig ODOT program Fern Valley interchange set for construction in 2012 With the South Medford Interchange project near completion, the Fern Valley Interchange in Phoenix becomes the next major transportation project scheduled for construction in the Rogue Valley. Scheduled for construction in 2012, the project will build a new interchange and improve connectivity to the roads on both sides of Interstate 5 at Exit 24. Plans are currently underway for a winter release of the federally-required Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project. The EA will include the impacts to the natural and human environment of one design alternative, referred to as the North Phoenix Through alternative. The second alternative was eliminated earlier this year because it would have an adverse impact on farm land. “We went through an extensive process to include two design alternatives but in the end the Department of Justice counseled us to drop it because it would require an additional land use goal exception,” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. Armed with trowels and dustpans, students from Rogue-Elk Elementary School, north of Trail, got their hands dirty in the name of science. The students dug artifacts at a simulated site provided by Oregon Department of Transportation archaeologists. “This is like a treasure hunt!” said student Ashley Meyers. ODOT provides the self-contained digging stations, which are delivered to the school before each session complete with sand and artifacts. The stations include rocks, bits plates, shards of glass and other items. The students are provided with gloves, dustpans and brushes. “We take this program around the state and it’s a great opportunity for us to share history and our program with young people,” said ODOT Archaeology Program Manager Carolyn McAleer. The students, live in an area rich in history, a fact not lost on their teachers. “Some students who live close to the Rogue River and its tributaries know what its like to go out onto their property and find items of historical significance,” said Susan Triller, a teacher at Rogue-Elk Elementary School. “This exercise brings things to life.” Archaeological sites are not a rare or infrequent occurrence. Over 30,000 sites have been recorded in Oregon to date with about 6% of the state actually surveyed. According to ODOT Archaeologist Kurt Roedel, seven federal laws and three Oregon State Laws regulate the protection of archaeological resources. “Oregon’s human history spans at least 13,000 years and archaeology provides a vital link to help understand the State’s cultural history. Archaeologists review environmental data and historical records and coordinate with Tribal partners to tell a story about each site” Roedel said.

The North Phoenix Through alternative will be the subject of a 30-day public comment period and open house. The $70 million Fern Valley Interchange project is now fully funded after $25 million was designated for the project as part of the 2009 Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act.

New interchange type The Fern Valley interchange will be constructed using a ‘crossing’ or ‘diamond’ design that provides a higher capacity to move traffic while requiring lower right of way needs. The design, which moves vehicles to the opposite side of the road and reduces the number of traffic signal cycles, is currently in use in Missouri. The North Phoenix Through alternative will allow traffic coming from either Phoenix or I-5 to travel north to the east side of the Home Depot before connecting with the existing North Phoenix Road near Arrowhead Ranch. Eastbound traffic will travel on a new South Phoenix Road that begins northeast of the Home Depot and connects at the existing intersection of South Phoenix and Fern Valley Roads. On the west side of the interchange, traffic on Fern Valley Road will cross a new and wider Bear Creek bridge. “While much of the road system will continue to operate as it does now, the exception will be that eastbound traffic from Highway 99 to I-5 will travel on Boltz Road instead of the current Fern Valley Road,” Leever said.

IAMP Approved The Phoenix City Council approved an Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) last month for I-5 Exit 24. “This will allow the interchange to last into the future and will ensure the interchange area won’t get bogged down by traffic because of overdevelopment, said Leever. The IAMP goes before the Oregon Transportation Commission for approval in December.

For more information, visit the project web site: http://www.oregon. gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/fvi_index.shtml.

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ODOT Moving Ahead - November 2009