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ODOT is strengthening I-5 viaduct in Medford

For the past week or so, I've seen some pretty strange scaffolding hanging under the Interstate 5 viaduct at 10th Street. I can hear all sorts of noise, but I can't tell what's going on. Would you sleuths at Since You Asked mind finding out for me?

— Jeff B., Medford

That is a pretty strange-looking scaffold, and it's piqued our curiosity as well, Jeff.

As you noted, you can't tell what's going on, but the scaffolding is suspended completely under the viaduct from one set of pillars to the next just to the south of 10th Street. You can hear activity up there, but you can't see the workers because they're sandwiched between the scaffold that's attached to the underbelly of the viaduct.

We checked with Gary Leaming, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, and he said residents should expect to see similar work taking place at 12th, Eighth, Fourth and Main streets. The work began Sept. 12 and is expected to last through mid-November, with some sidewalks and traffic lanes closed at times.

Basically, construction crews are adding bolts and screws to the steel sections supporting the viaduct to strengthen the structure.

Each section that is being worked on has eight, 107-foot-long steel beams. Stiffeners have been added to the beams, but ODOT has discovered that some of the welds were deficient, so workers are rewelding those stiffeners.

Anyway, Jeff, we hope we've satisfied your curious nature.

— 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 youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.