Labor Day weekend signals summer’s conclusion and for most, a settling-down time, a stretch and a yawn before the drudgery of autumn, the end of vacations and a return to set schedules at work or school.
September’s arrival signals many things at the Oregon Department of Transportation but a slowdown is not one of them. At the forefront, our traffic safety division is busily delivering back-to-school safety tips – crosswalk safety, school zones, child safety seats, bikes and buses. Rosalee Senger, our regional traffic safety coordinator, sums it up well, ‘Safety is everyone’s responsibility, on the highways and in the school zones.’
Hopefully, the back-to-school safety tips on page 8 will wind up being pinned to refrigerator doors and bulletin boards around the Rogue Valley. The message is clear: drivers need to be alert.
The end of August also serves as a warning for our construction and maintenance projects that time is rapidly running out. For larger projects such as the South Medford Interchange and the bridge repair/replacement bundles along Interstate 5, the work can shift to accommodate the seasons. However, paving, striping and other-weather related activities need to be wrapped up before the rain and cold temperatures return.
Speaking of colder weather, now is the time to think about preventative maintenance for your automobile. October is Winter Car Care month. The most common vehicle deficiencies include weak batteries, worn or damaged wiper blades, clogged air filters, low washer fluid, dirty or low motor oil, and low antifreeze levels. Check out the ODOT winter driving tips available online at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/winterdriving.shtml.
Finally, September also denotes that there’s less than two years left before the new South Medford Interchange project opens to traffic. Four pages of this edition highlight that project, including a full-color map of the upcoming traffic changes that open and close I-5 ramps in south Medford.
Next spring, the project takes on one of its biggest challenges – building a new Bear Creek Bridge on Barnett Road, between Alba Drive and Highland Drive. Currently, more than 45,000 vehicles per day pass over the bridge. ODOT Public Service Representative Bill Boyett will be working closely with local businesses during this stage. ‘We’re focused on getting in, getting it built right and getting out as soon as possible,’ said Boyett.
The $70 million project is the Rogue Valley’s largest state highway project since I-5 was built nearly 50 years ago.
Our next edition arrives November 21 and will focus on winter driving in the Rogue Valley. Drop us a line and share your winter travel questions so that we can include them in the next issue.