Construction crews have shifted into winter mode at Ashland’s Interstate 5 exits – exit 14, Green Springs Highway (Oregon 66) and exit 19, North Ashland interchange.
Prime contractor Concrete Enterprises of Stayton is working on the exit 14 bridge project. A crossover detour built last summer allowed crews to begin lowering the I-5 roadbed to meet today’s clearance standards (17.4 feet). Concrete Enterprises expects to complete this stage and return I-5 to its original alignment before winter snows become common on Siskiyou Summit.
I-5 is being lowered as much as two and a half feet to provide adequate clearance beneath the exit 14 overpass. At the same time, work is continuing on building the supports for the widened overpass.
Prime contractor Oregon State Bridge Construction of Aumsville is working on the exit 19 bridge project. Crews have been working on the southbound off-ramp, since the new bridge will be on a slightly different alignment, and making changes to the roadway alignment on the east side of Valley View Road.
To keep traffic moving and accommodate businesses around exit 19, the existing bridge will remain open and much of the work will be done at night in the area west of I-5 on Valley View Road.
“Temperatures are dropping but our contractors are keeping up the pace on both projects,” said ODOT Public Information Specialist Dennis Steers. “Construction work is focusing on the bridge work, which isn’t as weather-dependent as dirt and asphalt work.”
When the exit 14 project is completed, the refurbished bridge will have two travel lanes, a center turn lane, bicycle lanes and sidewalks. Lighting, traffic signals and a short median will also be added.
The bridge at I-5 exit 19 will be entirely replaced with a wider structure. The new bridge will provide two 12-foot travel lanes, a center turn lane, and widened shoulders on a slightly different alignment. The exit 19 bridge design is a simplified version of exit 14. Both interchanges will be painted a light tan color to match their natural surroundings and new landscaping will be included.
“When the two projects are finished, the Ashland exits are going to look completely different,” Steers said, “The bicycle and pedestrian improvements should really please everyone.”
The two construction projects are scheduled for completion by mid-2012.