Friday, July 26, 2013
Contact: Neil Gaffney
Federal Highway Administrator Mendez Takes Part in Ceremonial
Ribbon Cutting of I-5 Whilamut Passage Bridge
New structure will reduce congestion in Eugene and Springfield
EUGENE, Ore. – The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez today joined Rep. Peter DeFazio in a ceremony celebrating the completion of the new northbound, I-5 Whilamut Passage Bridge over the Willamette River, which will reduce congestion and improve freight movement through the critical corridor.
The new northbound bridge will open to traffic in mid-August, nearly four months ahead of schedule. The cost of both the northbound and southbound bridges is $204 million and includes $30.3 million in federal funds.
“The new I-5 bridge will help drivers get home sooner and relieve freight congestion for businesses, while also maintaining the beautiful Alton Baker Park, including the Whilamut Natural Area,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Equally important, by finishing the bridge four months early, we saved taxpayers money and delivered important benefits even faster.”
The northbound bridge will join the southbound bridge, which opened in 2011 and supports 60,000 vehicles in the Eugene-Springfield area traveling on I-5 each day, of which almost 20 percent are trucks. The number of vehicles using I-5 in the area each day is predicted to surpass 100,000 by 2040. The new bridge is flanked by Alton Baker Park and the Whilamut Natural Area, and the project features landscaping and park improvements scheduled to be completed by December 2013. Enhanced bike and pedestrian amenities are slated for completion in 2014.
“This new bridge will improve safety and strengthen the region’s economy by expediting freight movement,” said Administrator Mendez. “It’s a win-win for people in and around Eugene.”The two bridges are 67 feet wide and will double highway capacity by accommodating three lanes of traffic with shoulders on each bridge. The deck-arch bridges are 1,984.8 feet long and stand 63 feet above the water.
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