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I-205 Airport Way Interchange

Current Status (December 2014):

Construction is complete. Crews working for ODOT recently finished constructing the ramp work and ramp meters. However, final inspections and testing need to occur before the ramp meters and signals can be operational. In addition, traffic signal communications and signs for this location are being worked on.

Prior to turning on the ramp signals and meters, ODOT needs to collect and analyze the traffic data on the ramp. Once all the systems at this location are operational and working properly, the ramp meters and signals will be turned on.

Project Overview


A major feature of the project is to construct a new free-flowing right-turn ramp for traffic on westbound Airport Way turning to northbound I-205. As a result of the free-flowing ramp, eastbound drivers turning left onto I-205 north at the intersection will have two turn lanes. Drivers will no longer have to share signal time with westbound to northbound right-turning vehicles. This will reduce the traffic queue from right-turning traffic that regularly blocks left-turning vehicles from entering the northbound ramp.
A preconstruction open house occurred on Jan. 29, 2013. Following are the materials presented at the open house:
Project Background
The I-205 Airport Way interchange provides a critical connection for travelers and the movement of regional goods. The Port of Portland  and ODOT began working on an interchange improvement project in 2007 to address increasing congestion on Airport Way from traffic attempting to get onto I-205 north. During the evening rush hour, there is more northbound traffic getting on I-205 at Airport Way than at any other I-205 interchange in Oregon. As a result, both directions of traffic on Airport Way experience delays of up to 45 minutes during these peak travel times.
ODOT and the Port made a commitment to the Federal Aviation Administration to have a solution to the interchange congestion problem in place by the end of 2014. They began the project with a study that identified appropriate solutions to the congestion on Airport Way and the associated problems with the northbound turning movement, while preserving options for future improvements on I-205.

Public Involvement

ODOT and the Port consulted with groups representing neighborhoods, business, trucking, freight, watershed health, pedestrians and bicyclists as they narrowed the alternatives to address congestion at the I-205 Airport Way interchange from a list of more than 60 options to a single preferred alternative.
Throughout the alternatives analysis process, members of these groups and others provided feedback at stakeholder advisory committee meetings, at open houses, through online surveys, in stakeholder interviews and at more than 20 project briefings. Early in the planning phase, public input helped establish project goals, objectives and evaluation screening criteria. Traffic modeling and public input helped refine bike and pedestrian connectivity and the proposed northbound ramp configuration.
An open house occurred on Jan. 29, 2013 to review final plans and to discuss construction impacts. 
Community input has greatly improved the planning process, and ODOT and the Port will continue to keep the community informed throughout construction. 
Click here to have weekly construction news sent directly to your email address. Select "Weekly Construction Update: Portland Metro, Mt. Hood, Hood River" from either the "Portland Metro and Columbia Gorge (Region 1)" or the "Project Information" categories.
Solving the Problem
ODOT and the Port are committed to developing a solution to the Airport Way interchange congestion problem. The problem-solving began by collaborating with community stakeholders and affected agencies to examine the extent of the interchange problem, identify key constraints and alternative solutions, and select which alternatives merit further consideration. Project partners studied the selected alternatives in a process required by the National Environmental Policy Act and then selected a locally preferred alternative.

Project teams and committees: 
  • Public Involvement Team
    The Public Involvement Team was comprised of staff from ODOT and the Port, and members of the consultant team. This team was responsible for planning and implementing public involvement and outreach with people who may be impacted by the problem and proposed solutions. This team coordinated online surveys, open houses, project newsletters and website, and stakeholder interviews, briefings and advisory committee meetings.
  • Project Development Team
    The Project Development Team was responsible for coordinating the project and finding consensus among partners on critical issues. The members of the Project Development Team represented the Port, ODOT, the City of Portland, Metro, Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and project staff.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Committee
    The role of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) was to advise the Project Development Team and Policy Group to ensure that the interests, issues, knowledge and recommendations of the local community were considered in project decisions. Committee participants also shared project information with their various constituencies. Look here for a list of the committee members, their affiliations, and meeting notes.  
How the project was developed
Phase I -- Alternatives Development (Completed)
Step 1: Technical Analysis: Existing and Future Traffic Demands
The project team studied the current extent of the interchange congestion problem and will forecast what traffic will be like in 2028 in order to develop solutions that account for future regional growth.

Step 2:  Identify Stakeholders and Relevant Issues
This step, also known as “scoping,” involved the project team conducting an Issues Workshop with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, interviewing more than 30 potentially impacted individuals, hosting a public open house, and conducting an online survey. The project team used this information to develop a baseline understanding of the issues to be considered in the project analysis and to identify potentially affected individuals and groups whose opinions should be taken into account.

Step 3:  Develop Criteria to Evaluate Alternative Solutions
The project team developed evaluation criteria to evaluate and compare alternative solutions.  The criteria are based on the project Goals and Objectives— desirable project outcomes that are derived from issues identified by the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and members of the public via interviews, an open house and an online surveys.

Step 4:  Develop Alternative Solutions
For this step, the project team held a three-day Value Planning Workshop in July 2008 with representatives from ODOT, the Port of Portland, WSDOT, Metro, FHWA, City of Portland, transportation engineers and planners, and the Stakeholder Advisory Committee.  During the workshop, participants brainstormed 65 solutions to improve the flow of Airport Way traffic accessing I-205 north at the Airport Way interchange.  After evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each solution, workshop participants identified 22 solutions, including three non-engineered actions (Traffic Demand Management, improvement to public transportation and land use management) to advance to the next evaluation process (Step 5).

Step 5: Evaluate Range of Solutions
In August 2008, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Project Development Team began a qualitative evaluation of the 19 engineered alternatives based on the criteria that reflect the project Goals and Objectives. Most of the 19 alternatives are not stand-alone solutions, and in many cases, compliment one another in addressing the project’s three identified key constraints. As a result, proposed solutions have been combined into ten (10) “alternative packages,” each of which may be combined with any of the three non-engineering solutions. Of the ten alternative packages, five (1, 2, 3 4 and 6) appear to perform the best based on evaluation criteria. Members of the public were invited to review and comment on the 10 alternative packages and evaluation process at open houses and online surveys.
Step 6: Narrow Alternatives
After considering public comment from the online survey, open house and stakeholder briefings, and evaluation results, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and Project Development Team will select up to five alternative packages that most adequately address the project’s core purpose and need. The project team will conduct traffic modeling, visual simulations and quantitative evaluations for these selected alternatives.
Phase II -- Environmental Analysis and Selection of Preferred Alternative (Completed)
The Project Development Team thoroughly studied the likely effects that each alternative would have on the natural and built environment. ODOT published the results of this analysis, encouraged public input, and selected the preferred alternative in conjunction with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee and the Port.

The selected improvement will create a new free-flowing, right-turn ramp from westbound Airport Way to northbound I-205. As a result, eastbound drivers turning left to I-205 north at the intersection will have two turn lanes and no longer will have to share signal time with westbound to northbound right-turning vehicles. This will reduce the traffic queue from right-turning traffic that regularly blocks left-turning vehicles from entering the northbound ramp.
Click here to view the Preferred Alternative.
Phase III and IV -- Complete design work for Preferred Alternative (Complete)
Phase V -- Construction (starting in early 2013) 

Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Background and Context
Look here for project history, Frequently Asked Questions and links to additional resources.

Contact Information
If you have any questions about this project, please contact:
Dee Hidalgo, ODOT Community Affairs Coordinator