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Temporary off-ramp at I-5 exit 24 to open July 1

 Posted: 11:05 AM June 27, 2014

A temporary southbound off-ramp will open to traffic early Tuesday, July 1, at exit 24, the Phoenix exit, during ongoing construction work for the Oregon Department of Transportation's Fern Valley Interchange project.

The existing off-ramp will close. While construction on the $72 million diverging diamond interchange continues, southbound motorists using the off-ramp will see a 20 mph speed sign. An ODOT graphic shows the new off-ramp will travel beneath the overpass then curve around to the right, where a traffic signal will be. There will be rumble strips added to alert motorists to slow down.

"This won't be business as usual," ODOT project manager Tim Fletcher said in a news release. "Both temporary southbound ramps will be controlled by a traffic signal in the southwest interchange quadrant."

A temporary roadway will also open west of the I-5 bridge. The ongoing construction will be done by Hamilton Construction out of Springfield. The company will begin rebuilding Fern Valley Road between its Luman Road intersection and I-5.

The diverging diamond interchange has an estimated completion date of September 2016. ODOT officials say it will be the first of its kind in Oregon.

In a diverging interchange, vehicles approach the overpass in the right lane, which allows a free right turn onto the freeway. The lanes cross, allowing a free left turn onto the freeway headed the opposite direction, then crossing back to put vehicles in the usual right-hand lanes as they continue on the road.

ODOT officials are urging motorists to abide by the 50 mph zones leading up to the construction, where traffic fines are double whether or not construction workers are present.

— Ryan Pfeil

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