A noisy nighttime demolition project is finished at Interstate 5's Exit 14 in south Ashland.

A noisy nighttime demolition project is finished at Interstate 5's Exit 14 in south Ashland.

Crews finished demolishing most of the decaying concrete from the deck of the Interstate 5 overpass at about 5 a.m. Thursday, said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming.

Crews will hand-chip the remaining concrete away before cutting out the remaining rebar skeleton and rebuilding it in preparation for new concrete, Leaming said.

Subcontractor Rampart Hydro Services started working overnight on March 21 and planned to have nighttime demolition finished by March 24, until equipment broke down during its second night of work.

Crews originally estimated the nighttime demolition would take longer than two weeks to complete, Leaming said, but the work was finished in about half that time.

Demolition was being done at night to lessen the effect on I-5 traffic. Freeway traffic was diverted off I-5 and through the Exit 14 on- and off-ramps because of falling debris from the overpass bridge.

Leaming wanted to thank local residents for their patience "while this necessary, yet noisy, work was completed. Now, onto finishing what will be a beautiful bridge when work wraps up later this summer."

He said the bridge will begin looking fairly complete by June, when Ashland's summer tourist season kicks into high gear. Lighting, landscaping and other aspects of the project will still be unfinished in the early summer, Leaming said.