Recently, a question/concern about the ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) projects was posed. We are sharing this question and reminding everyone to know their evacuation route, sign up for alerts and be better prepared for an emergency! Complete info at ashland.or.us/BetterPrepared.
During the design process for repairing the East Main St bridge and the Ashland St bridge (railroad overpass), ODOT altered the construction dates so that both bridges were not under repair at the same time during fire season. The East Main St bridge project was completed before the 2023 fire season began. Repairing both bridges at the same time would have eliminated the East Main evacuation route, while limiting the Ashland St route.
Due to the type of repair on the Ashland St bridge, which is currently underway, the project must be done during the warmer months. ODOT had initial meetings with the City of Ashland Fire & Rescue, Police and Emergency Management to discuss evacuation routes, communication and decision making. Conversations about evacuation routes have taken place with the contractor for the Ashland St bridge as well, and the contractor is prepared to move equipment and cones on short notice if needed, to open up as many drivable lanes in the construction zone as possible.
In addition, ODOT and the City of Ashland have a plan in place to control the freeway ramps into the city; to open up all lanes for outbound evacuation traffic. The Ashland St bridge project is slated for completion by October 4, 2023.
Currently, another contractor is removing and replacing the ADA sidewalk ramps along Ashland St. Emergency Management is reaching out to the contractors to plan for a way to easily reopen drivable lanes if needed for an evacuation. Paving for this project will take place in early October 2023.