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I-84 @ U.S. 97 Interchange (Biggs Jct.)

 Current News 

August/September Project Update
Work on Stage II, the eastern portions of the bridges and ramps, is now in full swing on the Biggs
Interchange Project.  Demolition of the Interstate 84 bridge is complete and demolition of the railroad bridge is now beginning.  Once bridge demolition is complete, upcoming construction activities will mirror last year’s work sequencing.  Excavation for retaining wall foundations will be followed by placement of the wall panels, and then construction of the bridge foundations.  This work will be occurring over the next few months.
 
Starting the week of August 18 the contractor is placing temporary barrier in the Interstate 84 median between Rufus and Biggs.  This barrier will replace the existing median barrier which no longer meets crash test standards.  The actual barrier replacement work will not occur until later this fall.  The contractor is merely staging the new barrier adjacent to the existing barrier.  Traffic will be down to a single lane in each direction during placement of the barrier but will return to the standard two lane configuration at the end of each shift.
 
During the next few months traffic configerations at the interchange will remain the same.  Periodic flagging will be required to facilitate some of the work but should be kept to a minimum. 
 
Background 
The I-84 at U.S. 97 Interchange construction contract was awarded to Kerr Contractors Oregon, LLC in May 2013.  Construction began in July 2013 and is expected to be completed by May 2015. 
 

Construction Timeline 
 
 
 
It's now easier to find us on the Internet
We've shortened our Internet address so it's easier to find this project page.  All you have to do is type in www.biggs-jct.com to find this website.  The same name with a an extension of .net or .org also work.  If you have this website already bookmarked, don't worry, the address won't change.
 
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Project Components 

  • Widen the U.S. 97 bridges and roadway over Interstate 84 and the Union Pacific Railroad, from two to five lanes.
  • Install traffic signals at both interchange ramp intersections and at the intersection of U.S. 97 with the Celilo-Wasco Highway and Biggs-Rufus Frontage Road in Biggs Junction.
  • Replace approximately five and one half miles of substandard concrete median barrier on I-84 from approximately ¾ miles west of the U.S 97 interchange to the railroad overcrossing near Rufus.

This project is being funded, in part, by the Jobs and Transportation Act (HB 2001). 
 
Project Information Paper - March 2013            I-84 @ US 97 Interchange-Project Design 3-2013
 
Location
The Interstate 84 at the U.S. 97 Interchange project is located in Sherman County, approximately 20 miles east of The Dalles, Oregon (see vicinity map).

Why this Project is needed
The interchange at I-84 and U.S. 97 looking north towards Washington State.
The interchange at I-84 and U.S. 97 looking north.
Interstate 84 at U.S. 97 (Biggs) Interchange is a major hub for transportation of freight by truck, as well as the intermodal connection point for the transfer of wheat from trucks on the highway to barges on the Columbia River. The interchange ramps and intersections are in a very constrained area between the river and the railroad.  Biggs Junction, located immediately south of the interchange, has also experienced increased commercial development catering to highway traffic. Traffic counts and vehicle classifications show that more than 40% of the vehicles in this area are large trucks.
 
Because of the heavy truck traffic circulating throughout the project area and the existing restrictive ramp and intersection space, left and right-turns for vehicles from the off-ramps are contributing to high congestion and back-up problems.  The intersections at the ramps are narrow and heavy vehicles turning onto U.S. 97 cannot stay within the correct lanes; these maneuvers require “gaps” in traffic from either direction on US97, which is creating safety concerns at these stop-sign controlled intersections.  This is most likely the single largest contributor to the existing back-up problems on the I-84 east and westbound off ramps.  In addition to the standard sized truck traffic, the configuration of this interchange is such that it can not accommodate the majority of over-sized wind-tower loads that continue to be delivered to wind turbine projects in this region, which is causing costly out-of-direction travel for those loads.
 
Traffic studies performed by the Oregon Department of Transportation indicate that if no improvements are made to these intersections, the consequence will be vehicle back-ups down the entire length of the off-ramps and onto the mainline of I-84 in the foreseeable future.
 
The concrete median barrier that separates the east and west bound lanes on I-84 in the vicinity of the I-84/U.S. 97 interchange does not meet current standards, and is in need of being replaced.  New styles of concrete barrier that will replace the old are much more crash worthy in accidents that involve the larger vehicles that travel our highways today.

What is being proposed
To alleviate these problems, the project will widen the highway and bridges on U.S. 97 from two to five lanes in the vicinity of the I-84 interchange.  Traffic signals will be installed at the ramp intersections. 
 
To further facilitate traffic flow in the area, a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of U.S. 97 with the Celilo-Wasco Highway and the Biggs-Rufus Frontage Road in Biggs Junction.  Construction of an acceleration lane is planned on U.S. 97 to the south of Biggs Junction. 
 
This project will also replace approximately five and a half miles of substandard median barrier on I-84 between MP 103.70 and 109.15.

Public Involvement

Third open house held May 15, 2013 in Moro, Oregon
The Oregon Department of Transportation hosted a third open house for the Interstate 84 and U.S. Highway 97 Interchange Project on Wednesday, May 15 at the Senior Center in Moro, Oregon.  Approximately 30 people attended. Questions centered around the staging of traffic during

Open House Flyer - May 2013
I-84 @ US 97 Interchange-Project Design 3-2013

Second open house held September 6, 2012 in Moro, Oregon
The Oregon Department of Transportation held a second open house for the Interstate 84 and U.S. Highway 97 Interchange Project on September 6 at the Senior Center in Moro, Oregon.  Approximately 35 people attended.  A lot of the discussion centered around the staging of traffic during construction.  The open house flyer and an aerial photograph with the latest plans at the time of the meeting are found below.

I-84 @ US 97 Interchange-Project Design 9-2012
Open House Flyer - September 2012

Open house held May 19, 2011 in Moro, Oregon
The Oregon Department of Transportation held an open house for the Interstate 84 and U.S. Highway 97 Interchange Project on May 19, 2011 at the Senior Center in Moro, Oregon.  Approximately 15 people attended.  A smaller version of an aerial photograph with an overlay of the draft plans that was presented at the open house is found below. 
 
Aerial Photograph with Draft Plans - May 2011
Open House Flyer

Project Timeline
 Design    2010-2012
 Contract Bid Let   March 2013  
 Construction   2013-2015
 

Estimated Project Cost
$23 million, funded by the Jobs and Transportation Act and federal highway dollars

Project Materials

Open House Flyer - May 2013

I-84 @ US 97 Interchange-Project Design 3-2013
I-84 @ US 97 Interchange-Project Design 9-2012
Open House Flyer - September 2012
Aerial Photograph with Draft Plans - April 2012
Project Information Paper - January 2012
Aerial Photograph with Draft Plans - May 2011
Open House Flyer - May 2011

Contacts
 Name            
 Title   
 Office Phone
 Email
 Robert Townsend​ ​ Asst. Project Manager ​ 541-296-2800  Robert.L.Townsend@odot.state.or.us
 Brad DeHart  Project Leader           541-296-2215  Bradley.K.Dehart@odot.state.or.us
 Rex Holloway  Community Liaison  541-388-6178  Rex.A.Holloway@odot.state.or.us