Largest of five sound walls complete; turn lane onto northbound I-5 to be closed this month

by: TYLER FRANCKE | WOODBURN INDEPENDENT - Construction continues on the north side of Highway 214 in Woodburn, as part of the Oregon Department of Transportation's Interstate 5 Interchange Project.The largest of the Interstate 5 Interchange Project’s five sound walls has been completed by the contractor working for the Oregon Department of Transportation, as construction on the $70 million capital project continues on schedule.

“We are very pleased with the construction of the sound wall on (Highway) 219 on the west end of the project,” said Lou Torres, a spokesman for ODOT. “It looks great.”

Measuring an estimated 2,200 feet long and standing 10 to 12 feet high, the sound wall on the north side of Highway 214 between Country Club Road and Broughton Way was highlighted as a priority by ODOT engineers and was also requested by property owners in the area.

The wall had been controversial due to the presence of two large sequoia trees in the area that ODOT had proposed removing. The agency and residents later reached a compromise that left one of the sequoias standing.

The concrete wall also contains some “aesthetically pleasing” design touches, thanks to the input of a citizens’ committee that weighed in on the aesthetic considerations of the project, Torres said.

ODOT is asking area residents and commuters to keep up on the latest progress, as the contractor, Salem-based K & E Excavating Inc., continues to divert traffic and temporarily close lanes to facilitate construction on the interchange.

The right turn lane onto northbound I-5 from Highway 214 will be closed for approximately two weeks starting later this month, Torres said, though he was unsure exactly what day this would occur.

“Motorists will still be able to get on I-5 northbound from (Highway) 214 by using the through lane,” he said.

The temporary closure is to allow K & E to do further work on the new roadway on the north side of 214. When the north side of 214 is finished later this year, traffic will then be shifted to the north so the contractor can work on the south side.

Releases from ODOT have stressed that while the staging on and around the I-5 bridge will vary, all four lanes on the overpass will be open during peak daytime hours, along with all lanes of traffic on Highways 214 and 219.

All areas will be signed and striped to warn motorists of the changes, and to aid traffic flow and enhance safety.

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