AASHTO Journal, 2 August 2013
Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation were joined by elected and federal officials and community members last week to celebrate the early completion of the I-5 Whilamut Passage Bridge in Eugene, a project aimed at cutting congestion and improving the local economy through better freight movement.
The new northbound bridge, which now accompanies a new southbound bridge completed in 2011, is scheduled to open in the next two weeks or so. The bridge will assist the roughly 60,000 vehicles traveling this portion of I-5 each day get to their destinations, a number that is expected to hit 100,000 by 2040. The total $204 million project (the total for both bridges) doubled highway capacity and built shoulders for each bridge. ODOT was able to complete the project four full months ahead of schedule and says the new bridge will serve drivers for the next 100 years.
“Bridges are the art of connection,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett in a statement. “[The I-5 Whilamut Passage Bridge] is a distinguished landmark that enhances the surrounding landscape and adds value to the communities it connects.”
Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez was on hand to celebrate the project’s completion, praising the project and what it means for area citizens and those that need to utilize the highway for business purposes.
“This new bridge will improve safety and strengthen the region’s economy by expediting freight movement,” Mendez said. “It’s a win-win for people in and around Eugene.”
While the bridge opens to traffic this month, ODOT is still working on enhanced bicycle and pedestrian amenities, which should be completed in 2014.