By Art Anderson Rogue Valley Area Manager
The Fern Valley Interchange design in Phoenix looks great and functions well for the local community and travelers along Interstate 5.
It’s never easy to complete a project of this size without changing a community, especially one the size of Phoenix. The success of this project is due in no small part to the participation and partnership of local citizens and the city.
We started design and environmental process meetings in 2004 with the Phoenix community and nearby property owners. The process took more than seven years and was sometimes contentious. Early on, I stopped the design and environmental process to bring more community voices into the project’s development.
In the end, we developed a thoroughly vetted interchange design with the support and input of the Phoenix community. It was a challenging design given the geography and proximity of adjacent businesses.
Prime contractor Hamilton Construction of Springfield began construction in April 2014.
The Fern Valley Interchange project is especially notable as the first diverging diamond interchange developed in the state of Oregon. As the Fern Valley project progressed, the diverging diamond, a compact, efficient interchange design, became more popular. The design is now operational or under construction in almost every state in the nation.
The Fern Valley Interchange project also built a new Bear Creek Bridge, replacing a narrower structure that was load-limited. Sidewalks and bike lanes constructed as part of the project now safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.
I’m proud to say the $72 million project came in on time and on budget. I’d also like to acknowledge everyone who had a part in this project, including the city of Phoenix, Hamilton Construction, the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation, the local citizens who attended our design meetings and gave their opinions and suggestions, as well as the local businesses and travelers who endured two seasons of construction.
This new interchange is a great addition to the transportation network and sets the stage for a new era of economic development in Phoenix and the Rogue Valley.
About Art Anderson
As Area Manager for the Rogue Valley, Art manages state highway construction projects in Josephine and Jackson counties. He represents ODOT as a member of the Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation.
Charted in 1997 by the Oregon Transportation Commission, RVACT address all aspects of transportation (surface, marine, air, and transportation safety) with primary focus on the state transportation system. The advisory body considers regional and local transportation issues if they affect the state system.