ODOT News Briefs

« Back to the April 2006 edition

Highway 62 Corridor

The Highway 62 Corridor teams are working toward submitting concepts for theEnvironmental Impact Statement.

The Highway 62 corridor from Medford to White City experiences heavy trafficand congestion. The volume of traffic in the corridor is similar to that found onInterstate 5 north of Medford.

Safety is another concern on the corridor. Crash rates from Poplar Drive to DeltaWaters Road and from Corey Road to Antelope Road exceed the statewide rate,primarily because of the volume of traffi c and roadways and driveways locatedbetween those points.

To date, the teams have worked through many concepts with four under review. The concepts can be reviewed at the project web site atwww.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

I-5: North Ashland-South Medford

Motorists will experience delays during peak travel times until Memorial Day as rehabilitation continues on four Interstate 5 bridges from Phoenix to Talent.

Significant delays occur during peak travel times, the morning and evening commutes, because I-5 is narrowed to one lane in each direction.

Work includes modifying the bridge rail to current safety standards and building a new concrete deck. The work is part of the $12.4 million South Medford-North Ashland interstate paving project, which began in 2005.

Motorists should plan ahead, leave extra time for their commute and consider using alternate routes to avoid congestion.

North Medford Interchange

The $36 million modernization project is now scheduled for completion in June. Originally scheduled for completion in October 2005, the project makes safety and traffic flow improvements to the east side of the Interstate 5 interchange (exit 30) that linksI-5 and Oregon Highway 62, locally known as Crater Lake Highway.

The remaining work is on Biddle Road. The contractor, J.W. Fowler of Dallas, Oregon, is widening Biddle Road, as well as completing curbs, sidewalks, driveways and landscaping along the road.

The initial construction stages widened the bridges on Biddle Road and Highway 62;removed the Medco Haul Road over crossings; and built new on- and off-ramps for northbound I-5 traffic. Popular Drive was reconstructed and a new, signalized intersection was installed for both Fred Meyer and Poplar Square.

A retaining wall that incorporates a design of salmon, cattails and sugar pine was built for the northbound I-5 off-ramp.

You can view the project via the Oregon Department of Transportation’s travel information web site, www.tripcheck.com.

Work Zone Safety

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer travel season. Summer is also the busiest highway construction season as many projects, especially paving, depends on warm weather conditions.

Once a year, National Work Zone Awareness Week is observed as an annual reminder that the roadside is a workplace for hundreds of employees and that extra caution is required of motorists. The event was held April 3-9 this year with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State Police offering safety tips for motorists.

“The most important thing a driver can do is pay complete attention to driving, especially in the transition zone before the work area,” said Sunday Alberding, ODOT Safety Manager. “Slow down when you see orange barrels, cones and signs – even when there’s no construction work visible. Hazards still might exist.”

Facts and figures

  • More than 80 percent of fatalities in highway work zones are drivers and passengers, not workers.
  • Driver inattention is the biggest cause of work zone crashes.
  • Speeding is the second biggest problem; it is imperative that motorists drive the posted speed limit in work zones.
  • More than 400 work-zone related crashes typically occur in Oregon each year.
  • More than 40% of work zone crashes happen in transition zones prior to work areas.
  • Work zone crashes tend to be more severe than other types of crashes.
  • Highway construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States.
  • The risk of death is seven times higher for highway workers than for an average worker.

Work zone survival tips

  • Slow down, pay attention and stay calm.
  • Merge as soon as possible, when directed. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by moving to the appropriate lane at first notice of a merge sign.
  • Some work zones — such as line painting, road patching, and mowing — are mobile. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says, “END ROAD WORK.”
  • Try an alternate route. Visit www.tripcheck.com for construction information in Oregon or call 511.
  • Expect delays and plan for them. Leave early to reach your destination on time.
  • Finally, remember that even if a work zone looks inactive, people, equipment and obstacles still may be present.

    Summer Youth Litter Patrols

    The Oregon Department of Transportation has jobs for youth wishing to work outdoors and help keep Oregon clean.

    This summer, ODOT will hire youth statewide to clean up litter along state highways as part of the Youth Litter Patrol program. While the crews primarily pick up litter other duties may also include graffiti removal and general landscape maintenance. A typical crew includes a crew leader and two or more members.

    Crew leaders must be at least 18 years old with a valid driver license and good driving record. There is no maximum age for a crew leader. Crew members must be 16 to 20 years old.

    The Youth Litter Patrol program was founded in 1971 to help in cleaning up highway rights-of-way and is funded through the sale of custom license plates available through Driver and Motor Vehicle Services.

    To be considered for a job as a Litter Patrol Worker, register with your local Employment Department office. Youth Litter Patrols may work up to 12 weeks this summer.

    For more information about the Youth Litter Patrol program in the Rogue Valley, call the ODOT office in White City at 541-774-6351.

« Back to the April 2006 edition