Bridge building continues on Fern Valley Interchange
Even with winter’s colder temperatures and wetter conditions, construction on the Fern Valley Interchange project continues unabated in and around Interstate 5 exit 24.
The $72 million Fern Valley Interchange project’s size and complexity require more than two full construction seasons to complete.
Scheduled for completion in late September 2016, the Fern Valley Interchange project encompasses I-5, Oregon 99 and Fern Valley Road.
In addition to the construction of Oregon’s first Diverging Diamond interchange, the project realigns North Phoenix Road between Peterbuilt Motors and Home Depot.
Construction work is focused on two new bridges that span I-5 and Bear Creek. Prime contractor Hamilton Construction of Springfield set bridge beams over I-5, necessitating detours for interstate traffic. Nineteen concrete beams were placed over each direction of I-5.
The beams used on the Fern Valley Interchange project are smaller than the ones used for the South Medford Interchange project in 2007. That project used same-day delivery to haul the massive beams in from the north. The beams used for the Fern Valley Interchange project had already been transported to the work site, where the beams remained stored until set in place.
Bridge beams were set on the first half of the Bear Creek Bridge last October. Construction now is focused on tying the steel to the bridge deck in preparation for a spring deck pour.
In 2015, construction will extend for the first time west of the Bear Creek Bridge toward Oregon 99 and Bolz Road. The precursor of that construction work is the installation of a new water line for the City of Phoenix before roadwork construction can begin. Oregon 99 will also be widened to accommodate turn lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks.
Diverging Diamond Interchange
The new interchange bridge is being constructed just north of the existing bridge, leaving most roadways west of the interchange relatively untouched. The Diverging Diamond interchange design has a narrow footprint, which helps avoid touching most businesses during and after the project.
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