It’s gonna be a long summer — at Exit 64

12 Apr

You may have noticed an explosion of construction at Exit 64. It didn’t just drop out of the sky. The state Department of Transportation has been planning this for awhile, all with the thought of making things better at what we all know to be a ridiculously inefficient interchange, especially during peak summer traffic.

Before things get better, of course, they will get worse. In case you haven’t been following along, here’s what’s happening.

ODOT plans to widen the roadway under the I-84 overpass, to four through lanes and turn lanes. This means they need to replace the bridge itself, so they can cut into the berms that support it on west and east ends. To do this, they will be reducing travel on  I-84 to one lane in each direction, so they can shift both lanes onto half of the overpass while they remove and replace the other half.

They also will be routing a lot of traffic through Exit 63 — the central Hood River exit.

Traffic signals have gone up or will go up, to control traffic at E. Marina Way (by the gas stations) and where freeway traffic intersects what is known as Button Bridge Road. You’re already seeing work to realign the eastbound onramp to I-84 with the eastbound off ramp. In the future, anybody accessing that new ramp will go through a light. And if you’re heading north on Highway 35, you will be going through that lighted intersection to reach the bridge or freeway.

Here’s the plan for the summer. All this can change, of course, but it gives you an idea of what we’ll all be dealing with:

March 2010 to July 2010 – Traffic under freeway reduced to one lane in each direction. Traffic lights go up.

July 2010 to September 2010 – Westbound I-84 traffic limited to one lane except during weekends and holidays.

September 2010 to February 2011 – I-84 traffic reduced to one lane in each direction. Eastbound onramp at Exit 64 will shift to the north (where grading is now going on). Westbound access to Exit 63 (downtown) will come through Exit 64, and eastbound access to Exit 64 (Marina, Bridge, etc.) will come through Exit 63. In other words, you’ll get off at Exit 63, wait for the light, go through the intersection and down the existing on-ramp to Exit 64. Vehicles on that on-ramp will be blocked from entering the freeway until they have gone through the light at Exit 64.

March 2011 to August 2011 – Freeway travel lanes will shift, but single-lane travel will continue. Westbound access to Exit 63 and eastbound access to Exit 64 will continue as above.

August 2011 to September 2011 – Free travel lanes shift again. All other access conditions remain the same.

September 2011 to October 2011 – Freeway travel returns to two lanes in each direction. Button Bridge Road (the road that goes under the freeway) will be re-striped for five lanes — two through lanes in each direction, and a turn lane in each direction.

To get more info and stay current, go to the ODOT website, call 511, or visit Tripcheck.com.

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