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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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