Delayed freeway work set to begin

Paving on Interstate 84 between Cascade Locks and Hood River will start in late September -- three months after it was initially set to begin.

According to officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation, the project delay was caused by language changes in the work scope during the contractor bidding process. Those revisions legally necessitated that the job be readvertised to provide an equal job opportunity.

This summer J.C. Compton, Inc., of McMinnville was chosen to head up the estimated $25 million project which is expected to be completed by November of 2002.

Bob Neill, ODOT assistant project manager, said the repaving of about 32 miles of freeway will begin within the next three weeks. However, he said the major overhaul of the railroad bridge just outside of Hood River will most likely not take place until next year's construction season.

The new asphalt overlay used on the freeway will contain a more porous surface that is expected to eliminate a lot of the standing water which currently pools in existing ruts and causes hydroplaning.

In addition, a newer type of striping and an increased number of reflectors on the concrete median strips and road markers will heighten visibility for travelers during poor weather conditions.

Next year, the railroad overcrossings at milepost 63.4, at Hood River, are slated for closure while new decking and rails are installed. While that work is underway, ODOT plans to erect a temporary bridge to provide a thoroughfare.

Neill said during the roadwork traffic may be reduced to one lane, causing some delays, or detoured near off-ramps but there are no total closures planned. Construction will not take place on weekends or holidays.

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