I-5 in Woodburn, buses, covered bridges and the Columbia Gorge all receive needed money
August 15, 2012
Oregon transportation projects—from highway projects on I-5 and new buses for transit districts to covered bridges in Lane County and trails in the Columbia Gorge—have received significant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Federal Highway Administration awarded Oregon $15.8 million for 18 projects—the second highest total of any state in the nation, behind only California. And the Federal Transit Administration chipped in another $12.3 million for bus-related projects. All told, U.S. DOT awarded Oregon 25 grants totaling more than $28 million.
ODOT Director Matt Garrett thanked federal partners for their investment in Oregon’s transportation system. “This money will put people to work all across Oregon, and Oregonians will benefit from reduced congestion, increased opportunities for tourism and recreation, safer roads and more transportation options,” he said. “I am grateful for the support the U.S. Department of Transportation has provided, and I want to thank Oregon’s congressional delegation for helping obtain this money for Oregon.”
Highlights: Oregon projects fare very well in nationwide funding competition
Safety: A number of projects will improve safety for the traveling public, including a high-tech system that will monitor weather conditions on U.S. 26 and Oregon 35 leading to Mt. Hood and warn travelers of hazardous conditions, including adjusting speed limits. Shoulders will be improved for bicyclists on Territorial Highway, a major bicycle tour route in Lane County; and railroad crossing gates will be upgraded at 40 crossings throughout the Willamette Valley.
Public transportation: The three largest transit agencies in Oregon—TriMet, Lane Transit District and the Salem Area Mass Transit District—received funding to replace transit vehicles. And ODOT’s Public Transit Division received a grant to help transit agencies in small towns and rural areas replace important vehicles.
Interstates: The I-5 Columbia River Crossing and the I-5 Woodburn Interchange each received $3.34 million. The Columbia River Crossing will replace the Interstate Bridge between Portland and Vancouver, extend light rail to Vancouver and improve a number of congested interchanges. The I-5 Woodburn Interchange received significant funding from the Oregon Legislature in the 2009 Jobs and Transportation Act; this federal grant will help close the remaining funding gap so the project can begin construction in 2013.
Covered bridges: Oregon has more than 50 covered bridges that draw thousands of tourists to rural communities and highlight the state's history. Four covered bridges in Lane County—the Unity, Pengra, Office and Wildcat Creek bridges—and the Mckee Covered Bridge in Jackson County received funding to replace roofs and structural components. Oregon received more funding for covered bridges—$1.55 million—than all but two other states.