ODOT Moving Ahead - September 2009

Page 1

Stimulus funds hit the streets


Department of Transportation A Mail Tribune advertising department publication

10 SEPT 2009

Ready, set, build, build, build

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

ADVERTISING Tim Tergeoglou, (541) 776-4356 ttergeoglou@mailtribune.com

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

For information on advertising in this publication please contact:

CONTRIBUTORS Kristine DeVries, Publications Supervisor Bret Jackson, Graphic Design Steve Johnson, Photography

Patti Phillips-Kahn (541) 776-4446 pphillips-kahn@dailytidings.com

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/affirmative action employer committed to a diverse workforce. Accommodations will be provided to persons with disabilities. Alternate formats available upon request.


September 2009


Football metaphors and highway construction are familiar teammates, never more so than in autumn, when contractors rush to complete paving projects and other weather-sensitive work. Summer 2009 was the busiest construction season on Oregon’s highways and bridges in recent memory with $210 million of state highway projects underway in the Rogue Valley. There’s more to come, too. The Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA), one of the largest, bi-partisan funding packages ever passed in Oregon, raises $300 million annually in new revenue dedicated to the state’s transportation system. The JTA directs an additional $100 million for the second phase of the Highway 62 Corridor Project, a multi-modal plan to relieve congestion and improve safety along one of the Rogue Valley’s busiest freight corridors. The JTA also provides $25 million for the Fern Valley Interchange in Phoenix and $10 million for Interstate 5 truck climbing lanes on Mt. Sexton. Before you break from this huddle, don’t forget October is National Car Care Month. Now is the time to get your vehicle in good shape for winter.

Historic Rock Point Bridge undergoes makeover The Rock Point Bridge closed earlier this week for a $3.9 million rehabilitation project that will replace the bridge’s railing, deck and repair cracked and aging concrete within and around the structure. The bridge spans the Rogue River northwest of Gold Hill near Interstate 5 exit 43. Prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene will work under a full closure of the bridge that could take up to five months. “The closure and detour is an inconvenience but we worked with local property owners and businesses to reduce the impacts,” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. “By starting the project after Labor Day we helped Del Rio Vineyard and The Oregon Vortex, both of which rely on the summer tourism season. “Our goal now is to get the work done and the bridge reopened quickly.” According to Leever, the detour directs motorists to use I-5 exit 40. Additionally, ODOT worked with emergency services and the Central Point School District to make adjustments during the bridge closure.

Bridge history The Rock Point Bridge was unveiled in 1920, a time when Oregon’s paved roads totaled only 620 miles and its designer, Conde B. McCullough, had barely settled in as Oregon’s state bridge engineer. McCullough would later go on to leave a legacy of beautiful bridges along Oregon’s coast. Both his trademark aesthetics and efficient, custom-designed spans are present in the Rock Point Bridge. McCullough illustrated how form could complement function and the nearby landscape. Using a reinforced concrete deck arch, he designed a 505-foot span bridge over one of the rockiest sections of the Rogue River, hence the name Rock Point.


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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.” The bridge’s south approach was replaced in 1953. In 2000, the Rock Point Bridge underwent expedited repair work to strengthen the crossbeams, which lifted a 10,000-pound weight restriction on the span. For more information about the rehabilitation work, visit the project web site: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/234_rock_point_bridge.shtml.

Conde B. McCullough McCullough arrived in Oregon in 1916 to teach engineering at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). A pioneer of the movement to create a well-planned American highway system, McCullough argued that bridges should be built efficiently, economically, and aesthetically. He became Oregon’s state bridge engineer in 1919. His legacy of beautiful bridges lives today and most of his bridges are considered significant landmarks. Historical photographs are available online at the ODOT History Center: www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/BSS/historycenter.shtml.


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Fast track schedule targets Barnett Road-Bear Creek Bridge replacement as South Medford project nears completion The $70 million South Medford Interchange project is well ahead of its projected completion date of October 2010. With the new Interstate 5 interchange fully open to, the prime contractor, Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene, is working under a fast-track schedule to replace the Barnett Road-Bear Creek Bridge and reopen the road to traffic. According to ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming, the new south Medford interchange opened July 17, which allowed the last project phase, the replacement of the Barnett Road-Bear Creek Bridge, to begin. “This is the last of the 11 bridges built on this project,” Leaming said, “and this last bridge has the most effect on Medford traffic.” During the bridge replacement, a section of Barnett Road between Alba Drive and Highland Drive is closed for up to 180 days as Wildish Standard Paving replaces the bridge and rebuilds the roadway. Since the bridge was closed in mid-July, the old bridge is gone and footings for the new bridge foundation are already in place in preparation for the new bridge beams.

“Monster” beams coming in October “The bridge beams scheduled for October delivery will be the longest ones used on this project,” Leaming said. “The beams are monsters; each one is 172-feet long, seven-and-a-half-feet high and weighs more than 86 tons.” 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.

“The new Barnett Road-Bear Creek Bridge will be higher, wider and better for everyone, vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Leaming said. Most of the roadwork, asphalt and concrete, on Barnett Road and Alba Drive is scheduled for completion by early fall.

Business Impacts The Barnett Road closure significantly impacts six local businesses - the Black Bear Diner and Best Western Inn on the east side of the bridge and the Dairy Queen, Motel 6, Days Inn and Travel Lodge on the west side. Project maps and other informational materials were distributed throughout the area to help the businesses directly affected by the bridge closure. Additional construction signs were placed to direct customers to the affected businesses. The Medford Area Chamber of Commerce launched a “Buy Barnett” campaign aimed at corridor businesses between Highway 99 and Highland Drive. “This is our way of trying to help during this difficult economy and difficult construction period,” said Marketing Manager Paul Coughlin of The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County. The Chamber offers a free coupon in its publication, Business Review, good until construction ends. This coupon is also available at The Chamber office, the Medford Visitors Center and patronizing businesses.

Interstate 5 work nearly complete Final reconstruction of Interstate 5 is underway. This work began last spring with six weeks of continued on page 5

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single-lane traffic during the relatively lower-traveled months, which allowed the contractor to resume work through the summer with two lanes of traffic open in each direction. By the time the work is completed, I-5 south of the Medford Viaduct will be completely rebuilt with two feet of new base rock and nine inches of new asphalt.

Project background Designed to improve safety and reduce congestion, the South Medford Interchange project’s centerpiece is the new interchange 1,900 feet south of the

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former Barnett Road exit. The new interchange design is called a single point urban interchange (SPUI), which handles large volumes of traffic. 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. This is the largest state highway project in the Rogue Valley since I-5 was built. Construction updates and a video are available on the project Web site, www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

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Final construction season started for exit 55 bridges

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The $24 million Grants Pass bridge bundle is part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s 10-year, $3 billion Oregon Transportation Investment Act. OTIA funds are repairing or replacing hundreds of bridges, paving and maintaining city and county roads, improving and expanding interchanges, adding new capacity to Oregon’s highway system and removing freight bottlenecks statewide. In addition to building two new bridges at exit 55, prime contractor Holm II of Stayton, Ore., is building a new, northbound Louse Creek bridge at the I-5 Merlin exit 61. Motorists using the Merlin exit should expect short delays until the project is finished. In a separate bridge bundle, Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene, Ore. completed construction of two, new I-5 bridges that span Beacon Drive in Grants Pass earlier this spring.

Oregon Transportation Investment Act Of the 365 bridges in the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program, 68 are currently under construction, and another 159 have been completed and open to traffic. Based on 2008 dollars, about 14 family-wage jobs are sustained for every $1 million spent on transportation construction in Oregon. Each year during the remainder of the OTIA program, it is estimated that construction projects will sustain an average of 4,100 family-wage jobs.


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“This isn’t your typical bridge replacement on the interstate,” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming. ”These are not straight line bridges, so we can’t use pre-stressed concrete girders. The bridges have to be poured in place because this section of I-5 is on a curve and one will have an on-ramp attached.”



Last month, northbound I-5 traffic shifted onto the new southbound bridge. Southbound traffic will remain on a temporary detour bridge until the end of the project. Demolition of the old northbound I-5 bridge created a large hole, where the new bridge’s foundation is taking shape.


Prime contractor Holm II started its final construction season in Grants Pass, building twin Interstate 5 bridges at exit 55. The project is on schedule for completion in spring 2010.

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Highway 62 funding sets 2013 construction target The Highway 62 Corridor Project has a green light and a 2013 target to construct the second phase of a multi-modal transportation solution for the heaviest traffic and congestion conditions in southern Oregon.

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The 2009 Legislature approved House Bill 2001, now known as the Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA), which finances 37 specific projects around the state. The Highway 62 Corridor Project received $100 million, the largest single investment in the Rogue Valley.

“Our goal is take the funds we have as far into the corridor as possible to alleviate traffic congestion,” ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson. “This phase won’t solve all of the congestion issues but it will work and provide us with a foundation to build phase three in the future.” The first phase of the Highway 62 Corridor Project focused on the north Medford interchange, realigning the I-5 ramps and reducing congestion around exit 30. The second phase proposes to build a bypass for through traffic from the north Medford interchange to White City. Under the corridor alternatives, through traffic would travel on an access-controlled highway, leaving much of Highway 62 in its current configuration with full access to driveways and city streets. “The Highway 62 corridor’s traffic volume is nearly as high as what is found on Interstate 5 north of Medford and it is expected to double in 20 years,” said Anderson. There are two bypass options in the federally-required environmental document known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Both parallel the Old Medco Haul Road between White City and Medford but have different connecting points to Highway 62 in the south. The options are: • The Split-Diamond Alternative, which modifies the existing ramps on the north Medford interchange to accommodate bypass traffic; and • The Existing Highway Alternative, which merges the bypass with the existing Highway 62 near the Butler Truck Center. continued on page 11

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Under the JTA, the second phase has to start construction no later than 2013. An additional $23 million already earmarked for the Highway 62 Corridor Project’s second phase could be used for right-of-way acquisition.


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Highway 62 corridor continued from page 9

“Either alternative would cost more than $400 million to construct, thus we need to build the project in phases,” said Anderson. “The second phase of the Highway 62 Corridor Project will be a multi-modal solution that addresses transit, bicycles and pedestrians in addition to other forms of transportation.” The project’s Citizens Advisory Committee and Project Development Team received a project update last month and provided direction on what the second phase would look like. According to ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever, the Highway 62 Corridor Project DEIS is still another year away from completion.

The concepts are online at the project Web site, www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act The Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) represents the state’s largest long-term investment in transportation infrastructure, putting thousands of Oregonians to work while making sustainable and strategic investments in all sectors of our transportation system, including roads, bridges, mass transit, railroads, seaports and airports. The JTA is the largest, bi-partisan funding package ever passed in Oregon and raises $300 million annually in new revenue dedicated to the state’s transportation system. Locally, the JTA provides: • $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.

GOING SOMEWHERE? Get information on all of ODOT’s current construction projects, any time at either of our websites.

odotmovingahead.com oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/ • • • • •


Job and Career Fair today The Jackson County Oregon Employer Council hosts the 8th Annual Job and Career Fair today at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, 101 Bartlett St., in Medford from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ODOT Civil Rights Field Coordinator Christie Meacham will attend the fair with information about apprenticeships and career opportunities in the highway and bridge construction industry. “Oregon’s workforce in the highway and bridge construction industries is aging,” Meacham said. “Projections show there will be increased demand for new workers over the coming decade. Now is the time to get trained and ready for new opportunities.”

Business Resource Fair Oct. 3 The Rogue Valley Business Resource Fair is Saturday, Oct. 3 at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, 101 Bartlett St., in Medford from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a free, informational event for smallbusiness owners and those thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. Don’t miss this special opportunity to get free consultations and attend seminars on topics critical to small businesses. Information booths will be staffed by business and government representatives, including the ODOT field coordinator, representing the DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) and MWESB (Minority, Women Business Enterprises and Emerging Small Businesses) programs. “Certification in DBE and MWESB gives contractors more opportunities to bid on public works projects,” said ODOT Civil Rights Field Coordinator Christie Meacham, who manages the program for southwest Oregon.

For more information about the Rogue Valley Business Resource Fair, contact Ainoura Oussenbec at 541-776-6060, ext. 233 or via email, Ainoura.Oussenbec@state.or.us. You can also go online to www.businessresourcefair.org.

ODOT talk show airs tonight Renewed for a ninth season, Moving Ahead with ODOT, shifts to a new day and time with the first episode airing live tonight at 6 p.m. on Rogue Valley Community Television (RVTV) government channels in Jackson and Josephine counties. The monthly ODOT program will air live the second Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. The talk show features a call-in segment so viewers can ask transportation-related questions. Each episode of Moving Ahead with ODOT rebroadcasts several times during the month; dates and times are on the RVTV web site: www.roguetv.org. Initially conceived as two or three individual programs to complement ODOT’s public outreach efforts, Moving Ahead with ODOT debuted in July 1999. MOVING AHEAD September 2009




September 2009

moving ahead