The Oregon Department of Transportation is replacing the concrete safety barrier along Oregon Highway 99 with galvanized guardrail. ODOT Area Manager Monte Grove said the replacement would occur by the end of September.
"While the barrier is a cost-effective answer to the safety needs, it didnít work for Ashland," said Grove, "we need a solution that does."
The $1.3 million, Valley View-to-4th Street project runs along Hwy. 99 from Valley View Road through Ashlandís downtown business district.
ODOT is removing the concrete barrier at the City of Ashlandís request, following concerns voiced by the community. Galvanized guardrail has already been installed on the north end of the project.
The guardrail is new and it will look like a part of a finished project," said Ashland Public Works Director Paula Brown. "It doesnít look old and rusty, and from a maintenance standpoint it will look clean."
Installing guardrail will be an engineering challenge as a fiber optic trunk line is located directly below the concrete barrier. In addition, much of the quarter-mile section has a steep embankment. During construction, a lane of traffic will be closed to allow construction workers access to the area. Workers will then use a vacuum type device, instead of an auger, to bore the holes for the new guardrail.
"We want an open barrier to preserve some of the view for people driving into Ashland," said Brown. "This will also give bicyclists a little more room and a comfort zone as compared to a barrier."