:: What’s up with the I-84 Gorge construction?

This is from the Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners’ enewsletter.  Subscribe by emailing i84crgbridges@gmail.com; please include your e-mail address and/or mailing address.

Construction Changes I-84 Traffic Patterns in Hood River
ODOT Adds Safety Measures to Hood River Bridge Construction Project

Construction work to replace the Interstate 84 bridge at exit 64 will affect some Hood River-area traffic routes through next summer.

To maintain the safe flow of traffic, ODOT is limiting freeway traffic to one lane in each direction between exits 63 and 64 and separating freeway through-traffic from local traffic. Merging and exiting between exits 63 and 64 is not allowed. During construction:

  • Eastbound access to exit 64 will be via exit 63.
  • Westbound access to exit 63 will be via exit 64.
  • All business access in and near the work zone remains open.

The new configuration is scheduled to be in effect until the project is complete in September 2011. Travel lanes will shift as the old freeway bridge is demolished and the new one is built. To manage traffic flow, ODOT has installed traffic signals at three Oregon 35 intersections: at the exit 64 eastbound and westbound ramps and at Marina Way.

See below for a construction route map. The map and descriptions are also available at www.ODOTGorgeProjects.org.

Construction work replacing the Interstate 84 bridge over Oregon 35 is reducing through traffic on the freeway to one lane in each direction. Traffic engineers have determined that allowing motorists to merge between exit 63 and exit 64 would create a safety issue.

Until approximately Sept. 2011, eastbound exit 64 traffic uses exit 63 and westbound exit 63 traffic uses exit 64. Local traffic will also use the freeway ramps as shown below. Detailed route descriptions are available at www.ODOTGorgeProjects.org.


Complex Bridge Replacement Project Requires Balancing Environmental and River User Needs

Construction on the Interstate 84 Sandy River bridges began earlier this year. The project is scheduled to be complete in 2013. More information is available at www.sandyriverbridge.org.

The Sandy River near Interstate 84 in Troutdale – the western edge of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area – is a popular summer destination for swimmers and rafters. In the spring and fall, steelhead fishing brings people to the river. Year round, travelers visit Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site to picnic and walk their dogs. Nearby, hikers enjoy a network of trails maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

For the next several years the Oregon Department of Transportation will be there, too, working in the water and on work bridges above the river to replace the east- and westbound I-84 bridges over the Sandy River and add a pedestrian and bicycle path to the eastbound bridge. Crews also are repairing and widening the east- and westbound bridges over Jordan Road and adding a tunnel parallel to Jordan Road for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Once the bridge work is complete, folks driving over the bridges or using the river beneath will appreciate the rock façade treatments on the bridge piers, abutments and decorative pylons. And for those on foot or on bicycles, this area will be more accessible than ever,” said Brad Wurfel, ODOT public information officer. “But until then, recreation and construction will have to find a way to coexist.”

During construction, a gravel area typically used for parking along Jordan Road serves as a staging area for equipment and materials. A detour bridge built in the median will carry traffic while the bridges over the Sandy River are demolished and replaced.
Depending on current construction activities, drivers passing under the freeway on Jordan Road may find traffic controlled by flaggers or even alternating one-way traffic controlled by temporary signals.

“It’s a busy area and a complex construction project,” Wurfel said. “We really need motorists and recreational users to watch for work crews, obey parking restrictions and drive carefully through the work zone.”