Southbound lanes on the interstate to close June 2, northbound lanes June 4, as interchange construction continues

Parts of Interstate 5 will be closed to traffic in some of the late evening and early morning hours of next week to facilitate the continued construction on the Woodburn Interchange Project.

Specifically, I-5 southbound at the interchange will be closed to traffic between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning on Monday, June 2, and I-5 northbound will be closed to traffic at the same time and location on Wednesday, June 4.

Bridge work being conducted on other nights next week is expected to cause delays as well, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

While the lanes are closed, I-5 traffic will be detoured off the interstate and across Highway 214/219 to regain access onto I-5 on the north- or southbound lanes. Consequently, delays of up to 20 minutes are expected on 214 and 219 during this period, and ODOT is encouraging motorists to plan accordingly and use alternative routes.

The lanes are being closed to allow the project’s primary contractor, Salem-based K&E Excavating Inc., to place beams on the north side of the 214/219 overpass, which will ultimately serve as the foundation for additional lanes on the bridge.

“They’ll be working fast. They’re basically going to get it done in two nights,” ODOT spokesman Lou Torres said of K&E. “On one night, they’ll do five beams, then on the next night, they’ll do five more.”

Though no doubt the most impactful, the nighttime closures of I-5 are not the only road closures planned for June as part of the interchange project construction.

Torres said that beginning on June 9, Evergreen Road north of 214 will be closed to traffic for three to four days as crews rebuild and reconfigure that street’s intersection with the expanded Highway 214. And, beginning on June 23, Country Club Road will also be closed three to four days for the same kind of work.

Torres said that businesses on the two streets will remain open during both closures. While Evergreen is closed, businesses on that street may be accessed via Country Club, and vice versa.

“We’ve been doing a lot of outreach to the business owners, and we’ve told them, ‘We want you to remain open,’” he said.

He said keeping the lines of communication open and active, not just with business owners but also residents and city officials, has been an important part of the complex, multi-phase, multi-year, multi-million-dollar project.

“We really wanted to make sure that there weren’t any surprises and people knew what to expect,” he said.

Of course, one of the biggest logistical concerns of the project has always been the fact that the work is being done on some of the biggest stretches of highway in all of Woodburn. Torres said the interchange area sees approximately 37,000 vehicles drive through every day, 3,000 of them large semi-trucks, and the highways will remain open to that level of traffic during peak daytime driving hours throughout the project.

“From the very beginning of the planning for this project, our commitment to the city and the community was that during the daytime, we’re going to keep these lanes open,” Torres said. “But closing them was never really an option. We knew the traffic congestion is such that you’d suffocate these neighborhoods and businesses if you did not leave them open.”

Torres said ODOT officials have been impressed with K&E’s work thus far, and that the project is currently ahead of schedule.

“They’re really making good progress,” he said. “We’re in really good shape.”

Construction on the $70 million project began last summer. Most of the funding is through the Jobs and Transportation Act, a funding plan adopted by the 2009 Oregon Legislature to improve and upgrade the state’s transportation system.

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