Interstate 5 work ends in time for holiday weekend

Crews completed a phase of the Fern Valley interchange project that narrowed I-5 lanes for almost a month
A 4-foot pipe has been installed under Interstate 5 near the Phoenix exit to divert runoff into a detention pond. The freeway is back open after a month of delays, and pipe for an upcoming project sits next to the freeway. Mail Tribune Tribune / Bob PennellBob Pennell

PHOENIX — Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, all four traffic lanes have reopened on Interstate 5 near Phoenix, following a nearly monthlong slimdown for the first phase of the Fern Valley interchange project.

One lane of traffic in each direction near exit 24 has been closed since April 28 while crews from Springfield-based Hamilton Construction installed a four-foot diameter stormwater pipe beneath the freeway. The lane closures extended about a half mile in each direction from the exit.

The new pipe is intended to carry runoff into a detention pond that will help reduce impurities in the water before it's released into nearby Bear Creek. The project is about a half mile north of Phoenix.

"Really, we're done with that phase. Traffic on I-5 is back to normal," said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming.

Crews wrapped up the work at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, about a day ahead of deadline.

"The project schedule set a deadline of May 22, and the contractor nailed it," ODOT spokesman Dennis Steers said in a news release.

A 50-mph speed limit will remain in place, and motorists must reduce their speeds in that zone even when no workers are present, ODOT officials said.

The $72 million Fern Valley interchange project is expected to be completed by September 2016. It will be the first "diverging diamond" interchange in the state. ODOT officials said the upgraded exit will increase safety and reduce congestion.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or Follow him at

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