Rendering of the new Willamette River Bridge

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ready, set, traffic switch!

From ODOT-
Tonight we will switch half of Interstate 5 traffic to the new southbound Willamette River Bridge!

Southbound freeway drivers may experience brief delays as crews move concrete barriers and safety barrels to guide traffic onto the new bridge.

To minimize the traffic impacts, workers will do the lane shifts during nighttime hours.

Northbound traffic will be shifted to share the new bridge later in October. Then we’ll focus on removing the temporary bridge and building a new northbound span.

Thanks for your patience with the traffic changes!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What a day!

From ODOT-
What a thrill it was to see so many of you at our southbound bridge opening event! We were elated to see over 150 people last Thursday and share this milestone celebration, only a week after the project’s two-year anniversary.

It’s rare to see an interstate bridge empty of cars. It’s an even more unusual to see people, children and dogs strolling across one at a leisurely pace. Yet this is exactly what happened.

But first, we heard interesting and informative speeches from federal, state and local officials.

U.S. Rep. DeFazio looked to the future of the Willamette River Bridge project. “When this bridge is complete, it will facilitate the movement of the next four to five generations of I-5 users,” said DeFazio. “That’s a great achievement.” He also praised the large number of jobs that this project has created. State Rep. Terry Beyer expanded on this point, highlighting the economic benefits throughout the state.

While they couldn’t be here in person, U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent written statements read during the ceremony.

Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg and Eugene Councilor Alan Zelenka talked about the benefits of the project they are already seeing both in the parks and in the local economy.

Esther Stutzman, representative of the Kalapuya tribe, led her daughters in a welcome song. She then talked about the significance of this area to the Kalapuya, the Native Americans who have lived in this stretch of the Willamette Valley for more than 10,000 years.

David Lewis, a representative of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, talked about the design enhancements. “I’m so happy I’ve been able to contribute to bringing back the spirit of our people to this place,” he said. “This project is giving us the opportunity to share the legacy of our ancestors.”

Esther Stutzman leads her daugthers in a Kalapuya welcome song.

The tour of the new bridge.

U.S. Rep. DeFazio speaking to the crowd.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Please join our celebration and bridge walking tour on Thursday!

From ODOT-
The new southbound bridge will open to traffic by the end of the month. We are celebrating the halfway point of this exciting project and would love to meet our neighbors, who have been so supportive through it all.
Please join us on the work bridge at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18. U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, state Rep. Terry Beyer, ODOT managers, local elected officials and other distinguished guests will be there to celebrate the significance this bridge replacement has to the region.
Don’t miss a once-in-a-lifetime experience to walk across the southbound I-5 bridge before it opens to traffic. We’ll provide a guided walking tour of the bridge, after the official ceremony. You’ll be able to enjoy the views from the new I-5 bridge at a slower pace rather than at highway speeds.
Because the walking tour will be in an active work zone, we ask that you be prepared for some physical challenges and take necessary safety precautions.
  • The walking tour distance traveled will be about one mile and is expected to take one hour.
  • You must be physically able to walk unassisted up a steep, rocky slope from the work bridge to the top of the new bridge. 
  • We will walk the span of the new bridge and down a construction staircase to the South Bank Path. The staircase is five flights, or about 50 feet high.
  • You MUST wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, and pants are recommended. This is due to walking on rocky terrain, through an active work area, and on the tall, open staircase.

Parking is available at the University of Oregon Motor Pool at 3233 Franklin Blvd. Bicycle parking is also there, but please bring your own lock. Allow 20 minutes to walk to the celebration on the work bridge, or a shuttle will carry those who need it.

See you Thursday morning!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Special railing, fencing to protect drivers, railroad

From ODOT-
The new southbound Willamette River Bridge opens to traffic in late August. Special safety features will be visible to those traveling over or under the new bridge.

On the main span, unlike the usual concrete barriers on the sides of the bridges, the Willamette River Bridge will have special safety railing that will allow motorists on top of the bridge a view of the river below. The black, three-tube railing runs the length of the bridge over the river and connects to concrete barriers at each end.

Workers put the finishing touch - shiny black paint - on the new railing.
Safety measures are also required where the new southbound bridge passes over the railroad tracks that parallel Franklin Boulevard. There, crews installed protective fencing on top of the bridge’s concrete barrier. This fencing includes solid metal on the lower portion with open wire fencing on top. It is designed to stop debris from the roadway above from landing on the tracks or passing trains below.

At the south end of the new Willamette River Bridge, special fencing on top of the concrete barrier protects the railroad tracks below.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Southbound Willamette River Bridge nearly done

From ODOT-
You’ll soon have a unique opportunity to walk across the new southbound Interstate 5 Willamette River Bridge at the Aug. 18 opening event.

It will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the river views from the shiny new bridge at a human scale and pace rather than at highway speeds.

Below are photos of the bridge deck, showing final preparations under way.

Workers placed and hand-tied tied tons of steel reinforcing before pouring and smoothing the concrete to create a strong yet flexible bridge deck.

Crew members prepare to join a new section of bridge deck, at right, to one that was formed and poured earlier, at left.

The newly paved asphalt shoulder contrasts sharply with the shiny white concrete of the southbound bridge. The cranes in the background mark where the main span crosses the river.

The new southbound bridge is wide enough to be striped to temporarily carry both directions of freeway traffic as the new northbound bridge is built. From a bird’s-eye view, you can see the gentle curve of the new southbound bridge. The temporary I-5 bridge is to the right. 

The new bridge sports a strong steel railing that will allow drivers a view of the river below.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Franklin Boulevard to close this weekend

From ODOT-
Franklin Boulevard under Interstate 5 between Eugene and Glenwood will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 until 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 8.

The weekend closure will allow our crews to remove wooden falsework used to construct the new southbound I-5 bridge as it passes over Franklin Boulevard. This gets us one step closer to the finish line!

  Signs will direct Franklin Boulevard traffic to detours using I-5.

  • Westbound Franklin Boulevard traffic: take Glenwood Boulevard to I-5 northbound; then take exit 192 to Franklin Boulevard. 
  • Eastbound Franklin Boulevard traffic: take the on-ramp to southbound I-5, drive south to Glenwood Boulevard exit 191, drive north on Glenwood Boulevard to Franklin Boulevard.
The bicycle path underneath Franklin Boulevard will remain open, controlled by flaggers, during this work.

We appreciate your patience during this temporary traffic disruption.

For real-time traffic information, please visit