Collaborating with local representatives from Phoenix, the Fern Valley Interchange project team has developed aesthetic features for the new Interstate 5 interchange, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2013.
According to ODOT Project Leader Dick Leever, the utilization of concrete form liners and different stains and paints presents opportunities to build a bridge with the local look instead of the typical grey 1950s era concrete bridge.
“We looked at the natural colors from the surrounding hills and grasses along with the predominant structural features in the Phoenix area to develop an Art Deco theme for the new interchange,” said Leever.
The team filtered through several designs with the help of a Medford landscape architect, John Galbraith, before developing aesthetics for the Fern Valley Road bridges over I-5 and Bear Creek at exit 24.
The Fern Valley Interchange connects Interstate 5 and Phoenix at exit 24. The interchange experiences traffic congestion throughout the day, but is especially severe during the morning and evening commutes. Existing and proposed development along the east side of I-5, as well as development growth within the Rogue Valley, are choking the interchange’s capacity and causing safety concerns.
The project’s design phase began in 2004. The Fern Valley Through design alternative was eliminated in 2009 because it would have an adverse impact on nearby farm land. Later, the Project Development Team unanimously supported the North Phoenix Through build alternative as part of the federally-required environmental assessment.
ODOT will construct the Fern Valley Interchange project using a crossing-diamond design that provides a higher capacity to move traffic while reducing right of way needs.
Vehicles crossing the interchange move to the opposite side of the road to either enter I-5 or to cross it, reducing the number of signal cycles for traffic to clear. The Missouri Department of Transportation was the first agency in the United States to construct an interchange of this design.
The project design keeps roadways relatively untouched east of the interchange while constructing a new interchange just north of the existing one, and realigning North Phoenix Road between Home Depot and the Peterbuilt shop.