The earth moves for the Fern Valley interchange

I've been watching with interest the preparations for the Fern Valley interchange in Phoenix. I totally get the new road they're building behind Home Depot. That makes sense. What I don't get is all the heavy equipment just north of North Phoenix Road. You can see the work from Interstate 5.

— Rick S., Medford

It is pretty amazing to watch the work as you cruise down the freeway, Rick. Home Depot looks like an island in the middle of a huge construction zone.

And, yes, you're right, they're doing a lot of work to the north of North Phoenix Road through open countryside.

We checked in with Gary Leaming, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, to find out what's going on.

You're right, they're excavating tons of material out of the hillside behind Home Depot for the new road. In fact, they're excavating 184,000 yards of material.

You might wonder, Rick, what they're going to do with all that material.

That brings us back to your question. Leaming said the material being removed for the new roadway behind Home Depot is being deposited on the Arrowhead Ranch property to the north.

Two large dump trucks alternate picking up loads. Heavy equipment then spreads the dirt out over the fields.

As you head northbound on Interstate 5 about a quarter-mile past Home Depot, you can see the dirt and heavy equipment on top of a hill to the east of the freeway.

Leaming said about 50,000 yards of the material will be diverted to create embankments for new roadways around the $72 million Fern Valley interchange, which will take two years to complete.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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