MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Transportation will be closing down one lane along Interstate 5 tonight to repair areas along the Medford Viaduct. That's the bridge-like structure between the north and south Medford exits. The construction begins tonight and will last until the end of September. The repairs will be done in phases and drivers will see crews working overnight from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Tonight, the slow lane will be closed along the viaduct of the southbound side of the interstate. Speed will be reduced to 40 mph and a construction advisory speed of 30 mph. ODOT says drivers will have plenty of of warning of the approaching work zone with electronic signs and portable rumble strips. Once work is completed on the southbound side of the viaduct, work will resume in northbound lanes.
ODOT says it's really important for drivers to slow down, not only for their safety but the safety of the workers. The viaduct gives no room for workers to make quick escape, should a collision occur.
"You can't jump to the shoulder. If you jump, you're going to fall down on to the ground," said ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming. "The safety component is very big on this because the margin of error is so thin."
Oregon State Police and a Medford Police speed van will be on scene to cite speeding drivers. This is the first time ODOT will be using a speed van to enforce the speed limit in southern Oregon. The van has an attached camera that will take pictures of speeding drivers. Offenders will get a citation in the mail.
The next phase will also cause lane closures along the Barnett Road I-5 overpass.
Both phases of the project are expected to be completed by the end of September 2018.