The Fern Valley Interchange project development teams voted earlier this month to take two design alternatives into the federally-required Environmental Assessment.
Later this year, the project will evaluate the two alternatives — a mix of previous concepts and those submitted by the Phoenix Association of Business and Property Owners — within the federally-required Environmental Assessment (EA) document. Once the EA is complete, construction could begin as soon as 2009.
“We jumped a major hurdle with the Fern Valley teams by forwarding the PBA West, Crossing Diamond and two east side alternatives,” said ODOT Environmental Project Manager Jerry Marmon. “The two east side designs are different in how North Phoenix Road and Fern Valley Road connect.
The Fern Valley Interchange experiences traffic congestion throughout the day, especially during the morning and afternoon commute. New and proposed development on the east side of I-5, and development growth within the Rogue Valley, is choking the interchange’s capacity and causing safety concerns.
A new interchange design, unveiled in December 2006 is the Crossing Diamond Interchange, also known as a Diverging Diamond Interchange.
“This type of interchange is being considered elsewhere, so we thought we should present another alternative,” said ODOT Area Manager Art Anderson.
A new concept for Oregon, the Crossing Diamond Interchange design directs drivers to the left side of the bridge, similar to being on a one-way street, to cross the interstate.
Compared to a standard diamond interchange, the Crossing Diamond Interchange moves traffic quicker because it reduces the number of stops thus improving efficiency. They are also less disruptive to established businesses near the interchange.
The width of the over-crossing structure is typically less than that required for a conventional diamond interchange.
The next Citizens Advisory Committee and Project Development Team meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, March 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The public is welcome to attend. For more project information, go online to www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3.