Major projects move toward construction
Many of the biggest and most important projects funded under the Jobs and Transportation Act (JTA) are reaching key milestones and heading into construction in the near future. The next two years will represent the peak work on the JTA projects.
Here is an update on some of the major state highway projects you will see under construction in the next couple years. When complete, these projects will improve economic development opportunities, reduce congestion and enhance the movement of freight, and create more livable communities.
The Sunrise Corridor has been designed to ease congestion on Oregon 212/224. Heavy traffic volumes on this route cripple the movement of freight from the Clackamas Industrial Area, which is home to major freight distribution centers. The Sunrise JTA Project will build a new two-lane highway from I-205 that connects to Oregon 212/224, taking traffic off the congested highway and improving economic development opportunities in the region.
The project, a partnership between ODOT and Clackamas County, received $100 million in JTA funds as well as $20 million in OTIA and additional funding from Clackamas County and congressional earmarks. Construction will begin in summer of 2013.
The I-84 interchange at Troutdale serves the Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park, a major new employment center being developed by the Port of Portland that is expected to generate over 3500 new family-wage jobs. In order to improve freight access to the park, the interchange is being reconstructed by adding turning lanes and widening Marine Drive from a one-way road to accommodate two-way traffic with five lanes.
Initial elements of the interchange upgrades have been constructed; the larger JTA project is expected to begin construction early in 2014. The interchange received $24 million in JTA funds as well as over $4 million in federal funds.
The US 26 interchange at Brookwood/Helvetia lies at the heart of the high-tech “Silicon Forest,” serving major employers like Intel, SolarWorld and Genentech and providing access to one of the state’s largest parcels of shovel-ready industrial land. The JTA provided $45 million to reconstruct the interchange to reduce congestion and facilitate the movement of freight, allowing for industrial development around the interchange. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2013.
Just a few miles further west from the US 26 at Brookwood/Helvetia interchange lies the US 26 Glencoe Road interchange at North Plains. This low-capacity interchange serves the surrounding small towns and rural areas as well as the rapidly-growing western edge of the Portland metro region. ODOT is breaking ground on a project this summer that will improve safety and mobility and contribute to economic development by replacing the Glencoe Road bridge over U.S. 26 with a new, four-lane bridge, improving pedestrian and bicycle connections on the new bridge, and lengthening and widening the U.S. 26 westbound off-ramp.
The project is a great example of using practical design [link to practical design story]. Meeting all of the identified needs on the interchange would cost about $70 million—well above the $32 million provided under the Jobs and Transportation Act. Using practical design principles, ODOT’s Region 1 and stakeholders prioritized and developed a project that meets the most important needs, allows for future expansion, and fits within the resources available.
With traffic jams on Oregon 99W in Newberg and Dundee often reaching epic proportions, Yamhill County residents have been clamoring for a bypass that would ease congestion. Relief is on the horizon, as preliminary construction on the first phase of the Newberg-Dundee Bypass—which received $192 million from the JTA—is expected to begin next year.
The first phase of the Bypass will build a two-lane highway from Oregon 219 in Newberg to Oregon 99W southwest of Dundee, providing a route around town for through traffic, particularly the heavy trucks that lumber through both communities. The project recently received a Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration, completing the federal environmental process and allowing ODOT to start final design and finish buying the property needed. The first construction contract, which will be for early work such as building bridge abutments, will be let in the spring of 2013, with the main construction contracts going out in 2014.
The I-5 interchange at Woodburn faces significant congestion and safety problems. Using $43 million in JTA funds and more than $20 million from other sources—including an $8 million commitment from the City of Woodburn—ODOT will replace the existing low-volume interchange with a high-capacity design that will improve safety and better serve current traffic volumes. ODOT will also construct a transit facility to improve transportation options for the community.
The project is expected to begin construction in spring or summer of 2013. However, because the JTA did not provide the full amount to build the project, additional funding is needed before the project can be constructed.
ODOT has already made significant improvements to the interchange of I-5 and the Randy Papé Beltline in Eugene/Springfield, constructing a flyover ramp from northbound I-5 to the Beltline. The next work on the interchange reconstruction project includes a new Beltline bridge over I-5 and improved ramps connecting I-5 and Beltline. The JTA provided $80 million for the project, and construction on the next phase is expected to begin in 2013.
The interchange of I-5 with Fern Valley Road in Phoenix (at Exit 24 just south of Medford) will use an innovative interchange design that offers high capacity with a small footprint. Known as a “diverging diamond,” the interchange moves vehicles more efficiently by having them cross over to the left side of the road. With this unique design, most drivers can keep moving without having to stop at a traffic signal. (To see a video of how traffic moves through a diverging diamond, view North Carolina DOT’s YouTube video.) The project will cost $72 million and is expected to begin construction in summer of 2013.
ODOT is teaming up with the City of Bend to build an interchange at Murphy Road on the US 97 Bend Parkway. The project will alleviate congestion and crashes by eliminating signals on the highway, and it will also improve connections across the highway by extending Murphy Road over US 97. The $25 million project will begin in spring of 2013; another $20 million that has not yet been identified will be needed to complete all of the envisioned transportation improvements on local streets.