Businesses prepare for Barnett Road bridge replacement

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The South Medford Interchange project will reach three more milestones this summer:

• June 12 – the new northbound on-ramp opens to traffic;
• July – the traffic signals are turned on, providing drivers full access to the new Interstate 5 interchange; and
• July – the replacement of the Barnett Road-Bear Creek Bridge begins.

During the bridge replacement, a section of Barnett Road between Alba Drive and Highland Drive will be closed for 180 days as prime contractor Wildish Standard Paving of Eugene replaces the bridge.

The Barnett Road closure significantly impacts six local businesses – the Black Bear Restaurant and Best Western Inn on the east side of the road and the Dairy Queen, Motel 6, Days Inn and Travel Lodge on the west side of the road (see the project map on pages 6-7).

“Our goal is to replace the Barnett Bridge in the shortest time with the fewest impacts to drivers and local businesses,” said ODOT Project Manager Joe Thomas. “Additional signs will be placed along the detour routes to help motorists find these six businesses.”

Marketing expert meets with local businesses

According to ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming, project maps and other informational materials are being distributed throughout Medford to help the businesses directly affected by the road closure.

Marketing expert Barbara Findlay Schenck met with the local businesses May 12 and 13 to address their concerns during construction.

“This is one of the first times these six businesses met together as a marketing group,” said Tom Hawkins, owner of the Dairy Queen. “There were some good ideas that came out of that meeting…and I found it worthwhile.”

After the group meeting, Schenck, author of Small Business Marketing for Dummies, Branding for Dummies and Selling Your Business for Dummies, met with each business individually to further develop promotional ideas.

“The six businesses around the Barnett Bridge plan to meet as a consortium well into the future to plan how they can cross-sell, cross-promote, and create brand awareness for their businesses,” Schenck said.

Project background

Designed to improve safety and reduce congestion, the project’s centerpiece 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 handles larger volumes of traffic.

The $70 million project went to bid in 2006 after more than seven years of development with the City of Medford contributing $15 million. This is
the largest state highway project in the Rogue Valley since I-5 was built.

Construction updates and a video are available on the project Web site, www.oregon.gov/odot/hwy/region3.

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