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A Mail Tribune Advertising Department publication

Department of Transportation September




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Michael Rosenburg of Ken Scales Automotive Service

ON OUR COVER October is National Car Care Month. Cover model Mike Sousarczyk exhibits the frustration motorists experience when they neglect routine car maintenance.


Ashland Bridges Flurry of construction for three bridges on I-5 and Oregon 66


Highway 199 Expressway $5.3 million project improves corridor safety in Grants Pass


National Car Care Month AAA promotes the importance of preventative maintenance


Jordan Creek Rest Stop New I-5 facility in Canyonville highlights agency partnership

INSIDE COVER Storm sewer pipes are installed as part of the U.S. 199 RCC (Rogue Community College) to Dowell Road safety project in Grants Pass.

EDITORIAL DIRECTORS Jared Castle, (541) 957-3656

CONTRIBUTORS Kristine DeVries Publication Supervisor

Gary Leaming, (541) 774-6388

Bret Jackson Graphic Design

ADVERTISING Dena DeRose, (541) 776-4439 For information on advertising in this publication please contact Patti Phillips-Kahn (541) 776-4446

April 23, 2011

Steve Johnson Photography 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. ODOTMOVINGAHEAD.COM

September 2, 2011



Fresh blacktop and a smoother ride are just some of the indicators that construction is nearly complete on the Oregon 62 Owen-Coker Butte project. Following the 2010 opening of Owen Drive to Oregon 62 and Springbrook Road, the majority of the work over the past spring and summer was focused on realigning Crater Lake Avenue in the area near Coker Butte Road, east of Crater Lake Highway (Oregon 62). Prime Contractor Knife River Corporation (of Central Point, Oregon) is building the two-year project, which is managed by the City of Medford. “We’re on schedule, and looking to complete all of the roadway work this fall,” said Medford City Engineer Larry Beskow. “It’s turned out to be a good public improvement for the state highway and for the City of Medford.” The Oregon 62 Owen-Coker Butte project is designed to improve safety and traffic flow, and reduce congestion on Crater Lake Avenue and Crater Lake


September 2, 2011

Highway. When complete, the City of Medford will take jurisdiction of this section of Crater Lake Avenue. The latest phase of construction is centered on completing the realigned Crater Lake Avenue through city-owned property that was occupied by Hertz Car Sales. The business was temporarily relocated to the north on Highway 62 during this construction phase. Next, the new leg of Coker Butte Road will be constructed and paved, adjacent to the Rogue Disposal property between Oregon 62 and Crater Lake Avenue. According to Beskow, the project saved more than $1 million in taxpayer funds because Rogue Disposal donated right of way for the realigned Coker Butte Road. “Rogue Disposal’s property donation combined with Lithia Motors paying for the traffic signal at the new intersection significantly reduced the project cost for taxpayers,” said Beskow.

The two-year project makes the following transportation improvements: Moves the Cardinal Avenue traffic signal south to the improved Owen Drive, which becomes a four-way intersection; Limits right turns only at the intersection of Cardinal Avenue and Oregon 62; Closes the existing Webfoot Road and Coker Butte Road intersections east of Oregon 62; and Improves Crater Lake Avenue by moving it farther east from Oregon 62 at both Owen Drive and the new four-way Coker Butte intersection. This will improve the safety of the intersection by removing the frequent conflicts that arise because access was unsignalized and the intersections were too close to one another. For more project information visit the City of Medford’s project website: improvement completed improvement in progress

September 2, 2011


TRY TRANSIT WEEK STARTS SEPT. 19 The Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) invites you to gear up for Try Transit Week with daily transportation events and prizes from Monday, Sept.19 through Friday, Sept. 23. You can bike, walk, carpool and try transit with an opportunity to win prizes for each trip taken. “With household budgets being squeezed, leaving the car at home for some trips is an easy way to save money,” said RVTD Senior Planner Paige Townsend. “It is an added bonus that you can read a newspaper or catch up on email on the bus or use your walking trip as an alternate workout.” To give people the extra incentive to try a new way of getting around, RVTD is offering a chance to win an I-Pod Touch and gift certificates to local merchants, plus giveaways throughout Try Transit Week at Front Street Station, located in downtown Medford at 200 S. Front St. Most trips fit into three categories: work/school commute, errands, or recreation. According to Townsend,

a recent study showed that almost 9 out of 10 jobs are within a half mile of transit. “If you travel to the same place almost daily it’s easier to arrange another way of getting there,” said Townsend. “Chances are RVTD has a route close to where you work. “Consider your options and plan ahead. The most important step is to become prepared. For example, make sure your bike is safe and that you have a good route picked out. If trying transit for the first time, learn where your bus stops are and review the transit schedule.” To learn more about Try Transit Week, visit the RVTD website: www.rvtd. org/trytransit.php or call the agency directly at (541) 608-2420.

RVTD bus route maps are only a smartphone scan away.

GOT A QUESTION? CALL ODOT LIVE SEPT. 8 Viewers are invited to call in and ask transportation-related questions during the agency’s TV talk show, “Moving Ahead with ODOT” that broadcasts live Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. on Rogue Valley Community Television (RVTV) government channels in Jackson and Josephine counties. Viewers can participate via the call-in number: (541) 552-6079. The program can also be viewed online at www. RVTV manages Southern Oregon’s first Public, Education, and Government (PEG) Access channels.


September 2, 2011

Debuting in July 1999, the program is in its 14th season on RVTV. A new episode broadcasts live on the second Thursday of each month, rebroadcasting regularly on RVTV channels throughout the rest of the month. Rebroadcast dates and times are available on the RVTV website: ODOT Public Information Officer Gary Leaming serves as the program’s host. Each one-hour episode features guests from local and state agencies as well as updates on construction projects in the Rogue Valley.

OREGON 62 PROJECT focuses on multimodal goal A transit study subcommittee from the Highway 62 Expressway’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is reaching out to the public for ideas on how to make the corridor multimodal. The group hosted public meetings, including open houses in Medford and White City. “We’re reaching out and asking for public participation so this corridor can move people in more ways than in their personal vehicles,” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. “Right now we’re looking for ideas that are relatively easy and inexpensive to accomplish. However, we’re also considering other ideas that could be realized in the future with additional funding.”

We’re looking to improve safety, efficiency and reduce congestion throughout the corridor.

— ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever

Medco Haul Road between White City and Medford. With a 2013 construction target drawing near, ODOT is trying to look at all feasible options that can be incorporated into the project. The transit subcommittee includes representatives from the City of Medford, Rogue Valley Transit District and the project’s CAC. According to Leever, the Highway 62 Expressway project is more than just about moving vehicles between Medford and White City. ODOT and the transit study subcommittee recognize how enhancing transit can reduce daily trips in this busy corridor. “We’re looking to improve safety, efficiency and reduce congestion throughout the corridor,” Leever said. Some concepts already presented to the subcommittee include park-andride facilities along the corridor, signal prioritization for buses, and adding sidewalks at appropriate locations within the business corridor.

Unit 1 of the Highway 62 Corridor project improved the north Medford interchange, realigning ramps, reducing congestion and improving safety around I-5 exit 30. The second unit, a $120 million project, will build a 4.5-mile access controlled expressway that parallels the old

More details about the Highway 62 Expressway project are only a smartphone scan away.

September 2, 2011



Paul Newcombe, owner of the Valley View Shell and Arco gas stations at Interstate 5 exit 14, discusses the bridge project with ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers.

Ashland’s flurry of bridge construction continued this summer with crews busily working on and around Interstate 5 exits 14 and 19. The two projects started in spring 2011 and have a projected completion date of mid-2012. A new, wider structure is replacing the former South Valley View Road Bridge at Ashland’s northern interchange (I-5 exit 19). The new bridge is nearly complete, featuring two 12-foot travel lanes, a center turn lane, and widened shoulders. Prime contractor Oregon State Bridge Construction (of Aumsville, Oregon) recently poured the new concrete deck after building supports and setting beams this summer. “The contractor has kept a quick pace and appears to be ahead of schedule,” said ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers. “The project is really taking shape and the public can now see how much of an improvement the new bridge will be when the work is done.” Meanwhile, prime contractor Concrete Enterprises (of Stayton, Oregon) is making progress at Ashland’s southern interchange (I-5 exit 14). The Greensprings Highway Bridge is being widened from the center out to accommodate higher traffic volumes


September 2, 2011

and improved bicycle and pedestrian safety. The new bridge deck will be nearly three times wider than the existing overpass. The structure will feature two 12-foot travel lanes, a center turn lane, traffic signals, bike lanes and sidewalks. Construction plans also include replacing non-standard bridge rails as well as adding roadway lighting, decorative pedestrian lighting and a bike signal. According to Steers, drivers need to be alert and use caution during the next stage of construction as workers and equipment will regularly cross the travel lanes. “Once the barrier is poured on the south end, the contractor will switch traffic to the outside of the new bridge and focus on the existing roadway in the middle,” said Steers. “Workers will cross a lane of traffic to reach their work.” Aesthetic design The new bridges at I-5 exits 14 and 19 will feature artistic treatments that reflect downtown Ashland’s historic architecture and natural environment. A nine-member Aesthetic Advisory Committee, appointed by the City of Ashland, recommended an Art Deco theme for the bridges.

ABOUNDS IN ASHLAND The group found inspiration in design details from the rooftop of the 1925 Mark Antony Hotel (operating today as the Ashland Springs Hotel). Tenfoot tall concrete pylons at the ends of the bridges are topped by a pointed chevron design also found on the hotel’s parapets. The shape also is featured on the supports for the light poles. The pedestrian fencing with a rust-colored powder coating features a central arch design that can be seen on the hotel’s rooftop facade. In another nod to downtown Ashland, the light poles on the bridge will provide supports for banners. The light fixtures will be dark-sky compliant to minimize any light pollution at night.

The bridges at exit 14 and exit 19 will be painted a light tan color to match their natural surroundings. New landscaping will be added, too. Oregon Transportation Investment Act Funding for both of these projects is provided by the Oregon Transportation Investment Act (OTIA). The agency’s $1.3 billion OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program is repairing and replacing hundreds of bridges across the state to ensure the unrestricted movement of freight and spur economic growth. Of the 365 bridges in the program, 19 are currently under construction and another 251 have been completed and open to traffic.

NEIL CREEK BRIDGE: BIGGER, WIDER, BETTER If you packed up your kids for a summer camping trip or just spent a day on Emigrant Lake, you drove through the Neil Creek Bridge replacement project on Greensprings Highway (Oregon 66) north of the lake. The new bridge replaces a narrow structure originally built in the 1920s. The new bridge will be 44 feet wide – nearly twice the width of the original structure – with two travel lanes and wide shoulders to meet today’s standards. Prime contractor Legacy Construction (of Salem, Oregon) is building the bridge one half at a time. This staging requires moving traffic through the work zone in a single lane of traffic. Flaggers and a temporary signal are being used to direct traffic through the work zone. The contractor placed beams for the first half of the bridge in early August. “This location is a choke point on the roadway, which makes tight quarters for workers,” said ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers. “The work must be completed in one season because we face an in-water work period that runs from June 15 to Sept. 15.” The in-water work period is designed to protect sensitive fish habitat.

September 2, 2011


Project improves CROSSING SAFETY

in Cave Junction A project in Cave Junction will make crossing U.S. 199 (Redwood Highway) easier and safer for both walking to school on River Street as well as pedestrians patronizing downtown businesses. Prime contractor H2 Construction (of Central Point, Oregon) is working on both crossings. The $541,000 involves construction of a traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk on the north end of town at River Street, near the community’s three public schools— Evergreen Elementary, Lorna Byrne Middle School and Illinois Valley High School. The project schedule called for the signal improvements to be substantially complete by the beginning of the school year. However, ordering delays for the traffic signal poles will push project completion until later this fall.


September 2, 2011

Bicyclists ride around the work area at the U.S. 199 River Street signal project in Cave Junction

confident “ We’re that when the project is finished the community will like how the new crossing operates. — ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever

“The contractor got pinched in getting the drawings approved and the poles manufactured in a timely manner,” said ODOT Project Manager Tim Fletcher. “With only a handful of fabricators of signal poles nationwide, it’s easy to get caught in the time bind during the busy construction season.

“Both crossings have been top priorities of Cave Junction for nearly a decade,” said City Recorder Ryan Nolan. “We’re excited to see them completed for the safety of our residents.”

The project also improves a mid-block crosswalk between Taylor’s Country Market and Dairy Queen by adding pedestrian-activated flashing beacons.

The new Redwood Highway traffic signal at River Street includes a short median to accommodate left turn lanes on either side of the intersection. Since the project began in July, ODOT has ensured business access remains open and that blue ‘Business Access’ signs provide greater visibility.

An unofficial mid-block crosswalk has existed in Cave Junction for years. However, with four lanes of traffic in the busy commercial corridor, the pedestrian crossing was hazardous. ODOT’s traffic section made recommendations and secured additional funds for a new, state-ofthe-art, pedestrian-activated flashing beacon to alert motorists that a pedestrian is about to enter the crosswalk.

“Businesses near River Street expressed concern about the addition of the short, mountable median and how it would affect their access,” said ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever. “But the addition of the traffic signal will make it easier and safer to get in and out of those businesses. We’re confident that when the project is finished the community will like how the new crossing operates.”

“We apologize for the delay.”

September 2, 2011


US 199 Expressway project

improves safety

The second phase of transportation safety improvements along U.S. 199 (Redwood Highway) west of Grants Pass will continue through October.

Highway safer for motorists and pedestrians by separating Redwood Highway traffic and providing new facilities for bicycles and pedestrians.

Prime contractor Knife River Corporation (of Central Point, Oregon) is building a low level median and installing a new traffic signal at Hubbard Lane. The project will also add a new multi-use path on the north side of Redwood Highway between Dowell Road and Hubbard Lane.

“Drivers have had a full summer of orange cones on this highway,” said ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers. “The contractor got a lot of work completed.”

The $5.3 million U.S. 199 Expressway project, also known as U.S. 199 RCC (Rogue Community College) to Dowell Road, is designed to make Redwood


September 2, 2011

“We’re getting down to the base paving before taking it to the final driving course of asphalt before we wrap things up this fall. This summer, the contractor extended an irrigation canal, added storm water pipes and, of course, moved a lot of dirt. The

roadway base and asphalt are finally starting to take shape.” Project design and development began in 2006 with a federallyrequired study of the corridor that included public input on the project. The $3.5 million first phase of the U.S. 199 Expressway project improved safety along more than two miles of the corridor’s west side from RCC to Midway Avenue. The first phase 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. RVACT shelved final phase Last spring, the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation (RVACT) voted to remove the remaining $4.5 million from the final phase of the U.S. 199 Expressway project. RVACT is an advisory body that considers regional and local transportation issues affecting the state system. RVACT later reallocated the funds to other Josephine County projects. However, ODOT will move ahead with plans to remove the traffic signal in front of the Josephine County Fairgrounds. “Congestion and safety issues still exist on the highway,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson. “We’re taking steps to remove the fairgrounds traffic signal next year because of the high crash rate and the congestion it causes on the highway.”

More details about the U.S. 199 Expressway project are only a smartphone scan away.

September 2, 2011


Eddie Carter Jr. of Ken Scales Automotive Service

Simple things ignored today can create big problems later Following the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule found in the owner’s manual is the best way to keep a car running properly and avoid costly repairs. According to Ken Scales, owner of Ken Scales Auto Repair, dirty air filters can also rob a vehicle of fuel efficiency. “Engines have to be able to breathe,” Scales said. “A clogged air filter actually chokes the engine and can cause poor performance. Replacing the air filter can be a $20 fix that can help you get better gas mileage right away.” Scales said other common issues are hoses and belts that have deteriorated, worn out wipers and low levels of anti-freeze and other fluids. “Having proper levels of anti-freeze is especially important this time of year as colder weather moves in,” Scales said. AAA Oregon/Idaho reminds drivers that proper car maintenance can not only save money but is also better for the environment. Many drivers believe their cars’ oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, however most late-model vehicles now can go 5,000 to 7,000 miles between oil changes. “Having oil changes performed more frequently than needed is both a waste of money and an unnecessary additional


September 2, 2011

burden on the environment,” said Lonctot. “Motorists should check their vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out the manufacturer recommendations for changing the oil.” AAA offers complimentary maintenance checks During the month of October, you can take your vehicle to any participating AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) shop for a complimentary 35-point visual inspection (a $60 value) for anyone who calls to make an appointment. Certified technicians will inspect batteries, vehicle belts, hoses, tires, lights and fluid levels, and notify you if any problems are found. The most frequent problems found are due to improper tire pressure and low or dirty motor oil, antifreeze or other automotive fluids. To find a participating shop near you, call 1-800-AAA-Help or online to www. AAA has more than 8,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities in North America. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops are inspected and certified by AAA. The shops must meet and maintain stringent quality standards for customer service, training, equipment and cleanliness.

The AAA mobile application is only a smartphone scan away.

New rest stop and weigh station serve Interstate 5 travelers Motorists are adapting to several facility changes along Interstate 5 in southern Douglas County, including the closure of two rest areas, the opening of Oregon’s first privately-owned rest stop in Canyonville, and the operation of a new southbound Motor Carrier weigh station north of Myrtle Creek. The changes come about as ODOT addresses a steady decline in funding as well as direction from Governor Kitzhaber to deliver services smarter, more efficiently, and at less cost to taxpayers. The Jordan Creek rest stop opened at Canyonville exit 99 this past summer. Built and operated by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, it is the first privately-owned rest area in the state. In 2010, the Oregon Travel Information Council began managing five rest areas on

Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer Ed Hare measures the height of an oversize load.

September 2, 2011


Left: A family takes a lunch break at the new Jordan Creek rest stop in Canyonville. Right: The Cow Creek rest areas near Glendale exit 80 will close later this month.

I-5 and Interstate 84. However, each of those facilities are still owned by ODOT. “This is a unique opportunity for our agency,” said ODOT Maintenance Manager Darrin Neavoll. “This partnership allows us to provide better service for the driving public while significantly reducing our maintenance costs.” Major upgrades to the sewer treatment system, projected to cost $2 million, were needed to keep the former South Umpqua rest areas (milepost 112 north of Myrtle Creek) operational. ODOT chose instead to close the southbound rest area in September 2009 and remove the northbound rest area in December 2010. The annual maintenance cost for a rest area is about $125,000 per year. Meanwhile, the Cow Creek rest areas located near Glendale exit 80 are scheduled to permanently close later this month. Neavoll said the agency decided to keep them open during the busy summer tourism season while drivers become familiar with the new facility in Canyonville. He estimates the removal of the rest areas will exceed $300,000 because the agency is required to remove the sewer treatment system.


September 2, 2011

Public concerns about the closures were focused on the distance between rest areas. The Federal Highway Administration requirement is one rest area every 60 miles. “People appreciate the convenience of having a rest area every 40-50 miles,” Neavoll said. “After all the changes happen, we’ll still be in good shape. The distance between the next available rest area to the south will be 37 miles (the Manzanita rest area in Josephine County) and 43 miles to the north (the Cabin Creek rest area in Douglas County).” The new rest stop was designed with a men’s and women’s restroom located in the same building and two companion care restrooms for caregiving families. The facility features heated floors and hand dryers, a fenced dog run, as well as kiosks of travel information. Tribal security officers will patrol the rest stop as an added safety measure. ODOT entered into a 20-year agreement with the Tribe to operate the rest stop.

Left: Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer Anna Saily weighs trucks at the new Booth Ranch station. Below: Trucks queue up at the new southbound Booth Ranch weigh station.

Booth Ranch weigh station The former southbound rest area at milepost 112 was converted into a new weigh station for ODOT Motor Carrier. Opened last February, the station replaces the former Wilbur station located north of Roseburg that was removed to accommodate a construction project. According to Ashland-Roseburg District Manager Leslie Elbon, the new, southbound Booth Ranch weigh station is bigger and better than its predecessor. “The building is about the same size as the old Wilbur station,” Elbon said. “But the Booth Ranch facility has a lot more space to park trucks. “The additional space allows our enforcement officers to perform more truck inspections and complete more safety checks than we could before.” The northbound and southbound Booth Ranch weigh stations are the two located on I-5 between Oregon’s ports of entry in Ashland and Woodburn.

“It is a great location,” Elbon said. “We have quite a bit of traffic. Having the two scales near each other is helpful, whereas before we had a 18-mile gap between the northbound and southbound scales. It is nice to have that option.” According to ODOT Motor Carrier Transportation Division Safety Program Manager David McKane, the division is responsible for training and certifying the more than 500 inspectors at work in Oregon today. The Booth Ranch weigh stations are staffed by Motor Carrier Enforcement Officers in the Roseburg office. According to Elbon, the Roseburg crew also staffs weigh stations on Oregon 42, Oregon 138E, and U.S. 101, covering both Douglas and Coos counties. “Our priority is Booth Ranch,” Elbon said. “These stations are our hubs and so the public will see they operate most of the week.”

September 2, 2011


FERN VALLEY INTERCHANGE receives federal approval

The Fern Valley Interchange project recently received federal approval, following a lengthy design process. The $73 million project is undergoing final design as technical teams, including right of way agents and highway engineers, wrap up their work so construction can begin in 2013. “Federal approval of the design process is a major milestone for this project,” said ODOT Environmental Project Manager Anna Henson. “The next

Diamond Interchange


September 2, 2011

hurdle is to complete final design so we can stay on schedule for construction.” The Fern Valley Interchange project is fully funded thanks to the 2009 Oregon Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA). “The JTA investment was great news,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson. “A major investment like that reflects the excellent work accomplished in the Rogue Valley.”

The problem The Fern Valley Interchange connects Interstate 5 and Phoenix at exit 24. The interchange experiences traffic congestion throughout the day, but is especially severe during the morning and evening commutes. Existing and proposed development along the east side of I-5, as well as development growth within the Rogue Valley, are choking the interchange’s capacity and causing safety concerns. The process The project’s design phase began in 2004. The Fern Valley Through design alternative was eliminated in 2009 because it would have an adverse impact on nearby farm land. Later, the Project Development Team unanimously supported the North Phoenix Through build alternative as part of the federallyrequired environmental assessment.

diamond design that provides a higher capacity to move traffic while reducing right of way needs. Vehicles crossing the interchange move to the opposite side of the road to either enter I-5 or to cross it, reducing the number of signal cycles for traffic to clear. The Missouri Department of Transportation was the first agency in the United States to construct an interchange of this design. The project design keeps roadways relatively untouched east of the interchange while constructing a new interchange just north of the existing one, and realigning North Phoenix Road between Home Depot and the Peterbuilt shop.

More details about the Fern Valley Interchange project are only a smartphone scan away.

The solution ODOT will construct the Fern Valley Interchange project using a crossing-

September 2, 2011


Conservation bank helps needy families in Jackson County An ODOT conservation bank will assist families in Jackson County this winter by providing roughly 30 cords of seasoned oak firewood to heat their homes. Partnering with ACCESS, a community action agency in Jackson County, ODOT is coordinating removal of the wood from an 80-acre conservation bank located near White City. ACCESS runs its community firewood outreach program with help from the Westminster Presbyterian Church. “We go through 50-60 cords of wood each year,” said John Rich, who coordinates the firewood outreach program for the Westminster Presbyterian Church. “This opportunity will be very helpful. Last year, we ran out because the need was so great. This year, I’m sure we’ll get even more requests.”

Conservation bank A conservation bank is permanently protected land managed for endangered, threatened, and other at-risk species. In exchange for this protection and management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will approve credits based on the natural resource values on the bank land. ODOT can then use these credits to compensate for the environmental impacts of highway projects. The species in question include two endangered plants and the threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp, an inch-long translucent crustacean related to lobsters and saltwater shrimp. Each of the species occur in vernal pool habitat— small, shallow wetlands that fill with water during fall and winter rains and dry up in spring and summer.

According to Jacob Kercher, ODOT wetland specialist and project manager, the contract initially went out to bid to remove woody debris that cannot be burned, including the fallen oak trees. “Once we made contact with ACCESS and learned of the program in Jackson County, we quickly changed our contract so that the firewood could go to needy families,” Kercher said. The remaining brush is already in stacked piles ready to burn later this fall. The goal is to restore the area to pre-settlement habitat, which improves the vernal pools and helps the conservation bank meet its federal and state performance standards. “The controlled burns will prepare the soils for seeding with native forbs and grasses,” said Kercher. “We will hire a professional burn crew to remove the woody debris piles. In the meantime, we’re coordinating with Jackson County Fire District #3 and the Department of Environmental Quality to ensure we have permits in place and are complying with state and local requirements.”


September 2, 2011

The ODOT bank provides critical habitat for each of the at-risk species. Along with a neighboring Nature Conservancy preserve, the bank is part of a single block of nearly 225 acres of protected vernal pool habitat. In addition to addressing species issues, the ODOT bank is available to compensate for impacts to wetlands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Oregon Department of State Lands collaborated to allow for approval of the bank’s dual purposes under a single set of standards and procedures. This reduced the time ODOT spent on developing the bank and contributed to the agency’s decision to become Oregon’s pioneering conservation banker.

Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 18-24 Motor vehicle traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for children age 3 and older. Securing children properly—in the back seat of the vehicle—is the most effective thing parents and caregivers can do to protect them in the event of a crash. ACTS Oregon Child Safety Seat Resource Center is promoting Child Passenger Safety Week—Sept. 18–24 with partners including the ODOT Transportation Safety Division, Safe Kids Oregon, American Medical Response, Oregon Medical Association and more than 500 CPS Technicians working throughout Oregon.

Why do child safety seats expire? Safety standards and regulations change over time so an older child safety seat may be less effective than a newer product. Additionally, a seat may not have all of its parts, instructions, labels, or the important warning features of newer models. It is always important that a seat has its original labeling so that it may be checked for expiration as well as recalls. Without labeling, there is no way to verify whether or not a seat is safe to use. Did You Know…? • Only 60 percent of children over 40 pounds are riding in booster seats. Oregon requires children up to age 8 or 4’9” to ride in a booster seat.

More details about the Child Safety Seat Resource Center are only a smartphone scan away.

Rogue Valley Business Resource Fair Oct. 22 This is the ninth RV Business Resource Fair, a free informational event for small business owners and those thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. Valuable seminars, free consultations, key resources for success October 22, 2011 Saturday 9 2 p.m. at the RCC / SOU Higher Education Center, 101 Bartlett Street, Medford. Admission is free. 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. For more information, call (541) 7766060, ext. 233 or (541) 552-8300, E-mail: or visit To pre-register for this free event, go to: RVBusinessFair or call 541-245-7616. You can also do same-day registration at the Higher Education Center.

September 2, 2011



September 2, 2011

Bridge rehabilitation wraps up on Old Siskiyou Highway

Top: Built in 1914, the Dollarhide bridge’s skewed design allows for both the crossing of the railroad and the curvature of the highway. Left: When first constructed, old Pacific Highway was unpaved in this section as it crossed both the highway and the Southern Pacific tracks. Up until the late 1920s, this was the main railroad route on the West Coast.

The Dollarhide and Steinman Overcrossings, two historic bridges located on Old Siskiyou Highway (Oregon 272), reopened to traffic after a summer of much-needed rehabilitation. Prime contractor West Coast Contractors (of Coos Bay, Oregon) completed most of the work last month. The project included rehabilitating bridge rails, cleaning and repairing cracked walls and spalled (flaking) girders, removing and replacing the road surface and rehabilitating the historic rock walls. “The bridges look almost brand new,” said ODOT Public Service Representative Dennis Steers. “The rehabilitation project came out beautifully.” The delicate nature of the project required a full closure on each bridge, an

inconvenience for local residents who use the highway to access their homes. “We really appreciated the patience and support of the neighbors around these bridges,” said Steers. “The detours worked well and the project moved along smoothly.” Due to the comparatively low traffic volumes on Old Siskiyou Highway, the project didn’t warrant the need for a larger repair or replacement project. According to ODOT Bridge Engineer Bob Grubbs, the rehabilitation project won’t change load limits on the Dollarhide and Steinman Overcrossings. “The repairs are only designed to maintain their current capacity,” said Grubbs.

September 2, 2011


Above and facing page: Construction workers from West Coast Contractors repair the cracked support walls and rails on historic Dollarhide Bridge on Old Siskiyou Highway.

Transportation history The cost to construct the two bridges was shared by the state, Jackson County and the Southern Pacific Railroad. “Jackson County was proactive in tapping the state’s engineering expertise to design the bridges for consistency and state funding,” said ODOT Historian Christopher Bell. “The State Highway Department was looking for an opportunity to provide technical oversight.” Built by prime contractor J.W. Sweeney, the Dollarhide and Steinman Overcrossings have a storied place in Oregon’s transportation history. Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon, by Dwight A. Smith, James B. Norman, and Pieter T. Tykman, notes the “…[Steinman Overcrossing] is the only known switchback on Oregon’s highway system where the roadway passes both under and over the structure.”


September 2, 2011

The book states the Dollarhide Overcrossing was built for a cost of $5,900. According to Bell, a lot of drama was associated with the construction and the project ran into cost overruns ultimately resolved in court. However, the rough start didn’t detour the State Highway Department. “The Dollarhide and Steinman Overcrossings started the department’s work on U.S. 99. The department was also beginning to focus on another well known roadway, the Columbia River Highway,” Bell said. “From its inception, the state highway department was interested in building a modern road network around Oregon.” The Bureau of Public Roads, a precursor to the Federal Highway Administration, was concerned about bridge construction. Oregon understood the need and the value, so the department focused on safety and consistency in bridge construction.





ODOT Moving Ahead - September 2011  

Moving Ahead is a publication of the Mail Tribune Advertising Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

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