South Medford ExchangeConstruction work reaches Highland

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Construction for the new South Medford Interchange is in the middle of Highland Drive, requiring a detour for local traffic to Ellendale Drive and Greenwood Street.

The Highland Drive construction, between Barnett Road and Greenwood, is expected to finish in late August. The work includes replacing the bridge over Lazy Creek and widening the Highland to its intersection with Barnett.

Highland traffic is using Greenwood and Ellendale, although alternate routes are encouraged.

‘Constructing this portion of Highland allows the contractor to reduce the amount of time needed to complete this section of the South Medford Interchange project,’ said ODOT Public Service Representative Bill Boyett. ‘Speeding up the work is good for nearby residents and motorists.’

A multi-media campaign alerted motorists of the changes prior to Memorial Day weekend. Boyett also placed door hangers for local residents.

UTILITY WORK ON BARNETT

The prime contractor, Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene, is transitioning on Barnett to begin utility work on the north side of the road. Construction is focused on moving utility poles and lines and widening Barnett Road to accommodate new curbs, gutters and sidewalks.

Worker safety and maintaining traffic fl ow are at the top of Boyett’s objectives. ‘At all times, we are trying to accommodate two lanes of traffic in each direction,’ Boyett said, ‘even though we are limiting access to right in-right out in that section.’ Meanwhile, work proceeds on Interstate 5 with the new bridges over Bear Creek.

Concrete will pour soon on the new northbound bridge over Bear Creek. Once completed, southbound traffic will transition onto the new bridge, so demolition and construction can begin on the existing southbound structure.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Just over a year ago the $70 million South Medford Interchange project went to bid after more than seven years of development on the Rogue Valley’s largest state highway project since Interstate 5 was built.

A joint venture with the City of Medford, the project is designed to improve safety and congestion. The centerpiece of the project is construction of a new interchange 1,900 feet south of the existing Barnett Road exit (exit 27). The new interchange design is called a single point urban interchange (SPUI), which can handle large volumes of traffic.

THE CITY OF MEDFORD CONTRIBUTES $15 MILLION

The SPUI is located close to Bear Creek, so additional bridges are needed to accommodate the retaining walls for the on- and off-ramps.

A project Solution Team and Citizens Advisory Committee worked through more than 20 different concepts to develop the design. The Highland Alternative was identified as the preferred alternative.

Construction updates and a project video are available at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/smi_index.shtml.

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