Motorists are now driving on two new Interstate 5 bridges in the Ashland area. The northbound I-5 bridges spanning Eagle Mill Road and Bear Creek opened to traffic earlier this year as construction work focuses on the southbound bridges. Later this month work will restart on the Neil Creek Bridge after a winter hiatus.
Hamilton Construction Co. of Springfield is the prime contractor for the $25.7 million project.
“Construction work this spring and summer will focus on getting these bridges finished,” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming.
I-5 bridges in the Ashland area that will be replaced this season:
• The southbound bridge that spans Eagle Mill Road, located two miles south of exit 19.
• The southbound bridge that spans Bear Creek, located 0.8 miles north of exit 14.
• The southbound portion of the Neil Creek Bridge, located three miles south of Ashland.
Age, weather and heavy use took their toll on these five I-5 bridges. An average of 27,000 vehicles per day cross the bridges over Bear Creek and Eagle Mill Road, and 15,000 vehicles per day cross the bridge over Neil Creek Road. After nearly 50 years of service, the bridges must be replaced to meet modern traffic and freight requirements.
According to Leaming, even though the bridge replacement project spans two seasons, several factors tightened the work window for Hamilton Construction.
“Construction work had to take into account the unusually high water levels in Bear Creek last year,” Leaming said. “And the Neil Creek Bridge work shut down last November because the work was in a snow zone.”
Motorists are advised to watch for traffic shifts and occasional lane closures during construction. Additionally, the Oregon State Police will strictly enforce work zone speed limits.