A new intersection is still years away, but teamwork helps relieve congestion
Anyone driving I-5 near Aurora or Donald is aware of the backup that can occur at the popular southbound exit in Marion County. But construction on a whole new intersection is still a couple of years away. That doesn’t help the current situation – which can often mean sitting in a jam for up to 15 minutes that’s the result of traffic simply wanting to exit the interstate.
So ODOT’s regional team decided to see what they could do now. The result: a wider exit lane and new electronic signs on southbound I-5 warning motorists of congestion ahead.
“Staff from several different teams in the agency and from our partners designed some quick-fix solutions,” said Michele Becker in Region 2 Community Affairs. “Then Maintenance employees did the widening of the ramp and installed the signs.”
The ODOT project team was well aware of the dangerous situation: two truck stops and many businesses are located around the interchange, and traffic volumes in the area had been steadily increasing. Keep Oregon Moving (HB 2017) allocates $25 million toward reconstruction of the functionally obsolete interchange. Phase 1 is currently under development and includes new off ramps that will help reduce ramp backups on to I-5. But construction of Phase 1 won’t begin until 2022.
“What we have now is a short-term solution to improve safety until a new off-ramp is constructed as part of the planned interchange Phase 1 project,” Becker said. “We hope this will reduce frustration, too, because motorists will know what’s coming up.”
Learn more about the Phase I interchange project.