Federal stimulus bucks stretch highway paving

Crews resurface 24 miles of Highways 62 and 140
Federal stimulus money is repaving stretches of Highway 62 and hwy 140. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch

Working mostly at night, crews are repaving 24 miles of road on Highways 62 and 140, thanks to an infusion of $6.9 million in federal stimulus dollars.

The Oregon Department of Transportation originally thought the money would pay for repaving only from Poplar Drive in Medford to White City, but the department has been able to stretch the dollars.

"We got enough to go to Trail," said ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming.

Not all the roadway on Highway 62 is being paved. Because certain areas, such as through Shady Cove, are being skipped over, Leaming said the total number of miles of new asphalt will be 16.

The paving will start at Poplar Drive to just west of Webfoot Road, then skip from Owen Drive to Coker Butte Road. Paving will continue from Coker Butte to Linn Road in Eagle Point. The next section of paving will be from Highway 234 to Brophy Lane, south of Shady Cove. The last stretch will be from north of Shady Cove to east of Trail.

Another eight miles will be paved on Highway 140 from White City east to Brownsboro.

The original stimulus grant was for $9 million, but ODOT received favorable prices from contractors.

"It shows the bidding environment we're in," said Leaming.

Contractor Knife River Corp. has just started the project, but ODOT is working through some issues with the smoothness of the pavement, said Leaming. He said there appears to be a problem with a particular piece of paving equipment that Knife River uses.

ODOT said the roadway is rutting and cracking, and its base has been compromised in places on both highways.

If the roads, which were slated for paving in 2012, were allowed to deteriorate too much, the cost to fix them would rise substantially.

In addition, ODOT considers the highways important freight routes.

Knife River is working from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Eagle Point area between Linn and Dutton roads and motorists should watch for flaggers and traffic control devices. On Highway 140, work began last month and takes place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

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