Another busy summer of construction work is on tap for Oregon. Here’s a snapshot of some of the major projects the Oregon Department of Transportation has scheduled in the Rogue Valley this summer:
Interstate 5 — Bridge replacement and repair on Ashland’s I-5 exits 14 and 19. Motorists should expect intermittent delays on the bridges.
U.S. Highway 199 (Redwood Highway) — The second phase of the US 199 Expressway project focuses on the stretch of highway between Rogue Community College and Dowell Road. Construction work involves building a raised median and adding a traffic signal at Hubbard Lane. No delays are expected but drivers are urged to use caution in the work zone.
Oregon Highway 66 (Greensprings Highway) — Replacement of the Neil Creek bridge will be completed later this year. Motorists should expect short delays.
Oregon Highway 238 (Jacksonville Highway) — A widening project for the Jaynes Drive intersection will involve short delays.
Oregon Highway 273 (Old Siskiyou Highway) — Rehabilitation of the Dollarhide and Steinman bridges require a detour. Signs are posted for motorists.
Rosalee Senger, regional traffic safety coordinator for ODOT, said highway work zones are hazardous, and often more so for motorists and passengers than for workers.
“Nearly all crashes are preventable,” Senger said. “Drivers need to treat work zones as places to slow down and pay extra attention.”
Even if you don’t see anyone working in a work zone, it’s still important to slow down because traffic lanes are often narrow, rough and have little or no shoulder in a work zone.
According to Senger, the majority of people injured or killed in work zone crashes are drivers, passengers or pedestrians, not workers. The single biggest factor in crashes is driver inattention; that’s why orange cones, variable message signs and other tools are used to alert motorists. The other major contributing factor is speed, which is why work zones often require lower speed limits.
“We refer to these incidents as crashes not accidents,” said Senger. “Most vehicle crashes are the result of choices – choosing to follow too close, not paying attention, and driving under the influence.”
Road Project Hotlines
• (800) 977-6368 (in-state callers only)
• (503) 588-2941 (out-of-state callers)
• 511 or www.TripCheck.com
Summer 2011 Oregon Road Projects Map
Want to know where and when you may encounter orange cones and work zones as you travel around Oregon this summer? Pick up a copy of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Summer 2011 Oregon Road Projects Map.
The map is available at several locations around the state, including offices of Driver and Motor Vehicle Services, truck stops, welcome centers and ODOT offices. The map is also online at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/.
The map helps motorists plan ahead and be prepared as they encounter work zones. The construction map is a helpful guide for general information about construction activity. For current road conditions, including construction activity, motorists can log on to www.TripCheck.com or call 511.
Summer travel tips
PLAN AHEAD Don’t try to make up time on the road. Instead, allow plenty of extra time to reach your destination. Construction zones, traffic jams, or other incidents add delays. That extra time will help cut down on excessive speeding and tailgating.
PAY ATTENTION Eliminate distractions before you travel. Be sure important items – directions and maps, sunglasses – are within easy reach. Always pull over to a safe place to use your cell phone.
BUCKLE UP Everyone needs to be properly buckled. Educate yourself on child safety seats and restraints if necessary and remember children age 12 and under should always be ride in the back seat.
CLEAR YOUR HEAD Alcohol and drugs (prescription and over the counter) severely impair your driving skills. Be sure to read and obey the warning labels.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Maintain a following distance of at least two seconds. Add an additional second for each adverse driving condition, such as rain, low visibility or when traveling through work zones.
BRING A FRIEND Driving alone, especially when sleep deprived and at night, dramatically increases the odds of a crash. When possible, bring along a friend to share driving duties.
WATCH FOR SIGNS OF FATIGUE Feeling tired? Let someone else drive. If you are driving alone, pull into a rest stop or another safe location and take a short nap or walk around for a few minutes. Stop as often as necessary. Eat light on long trips. Large, heavy meals can make you drowsy.
Car trouble? Safety comes first on the highway
What can you do to avoid the potential for disaster when your car stalls on the highway?
Your first concern must be your safety and the safety of your passengers. Getting out on the spot to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. Use the following safety measures when your car breaks down:
• Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on the spot. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out.
• If you can’t drive the car, it may still be safer to stay in the car and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic, under most circumstances, is a bad idea.
• Carry flares or triangles to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning of your location can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights.
• In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair – even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is a better outcome than a fatal injury.
• Roadside tragedies remind us of the importance of having wide shoulders or safe places immediately available for motorists to use when they need them. When safe places are not readily available, motorists should move their vehicles to the nearest safe pull-off area.