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How to repave Oregon’s busiest freeway: a cool time-lapse video
It’s generally ODOT’s job to keep highways open to travel—especially Oregon’s busiest section of freeway. But when you have to lay 33,500 tons of asphalt to pave 32.5 lane miles of freeway and want to get the best results for the lowest cost, closing the Interstate down for a few weekends may be the best bet.
That was the calculation ODOT made when faced with the need to pave I-84 between I-5 and I-205, and so far the project has been as smooth as the new pavement that has been laid. The project will grind and pave 5.5 miles of Interstate 84 and its ramps between I-5 and I-205, making the drive smoother and quieter and preserving the long-term health of the pavement. The freeway will be paved with two inches of asphalt using 20 percent recycled pavement. The asphalt comes from a portable plant set up in Beaverton for the project. Each hour during construction, 20 trucks haul in the new asphalt and remove the old. Pavement removed from the road will be recycled into later paving projects.
The total cost of the project is about $6 million, which comes from a combination of state and federal sources. Using full weekend closures instead of night closures only will save the state about $1 million. Paving large sections at once produces a smoother result than piecemeal paving. Working nights and opening the road during the day would require 32 nights of dry weather, cause delays and lane closures over an extended time and pose a safety risk to travelers and highway workers.
ODOT produced a short time-lapse video of the first round of paving that shows how the existing pavement was ground out and replaced with new pavement, compressing 55 hours of work into less than one-and-a-half minutes.