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Orange barrels signify legit construction zone

Driving on I-5 past Phoenix makes me think there's a conspiracy going on. The area is lined with orange barrels signifying a construction zone, but that overpass has been finished for months. Is this the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation conspiring to create a fake construction zone so they can write tickets with twice the fine and help their budgets balance out?

— Anonymous (because I don't want them to come after me)

Well, Anonymous, we at Since You Asked Central like a good conspiracy as much as the next paranoid one, and driving down Interstate 5 through the Phoenix exit sure looks like it's ripe for such talk.

But, alas, like most juicy conspiracies, it wilts when the spotlight hits.

At least that's according to ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming.

The barrels signify that a contractor has resumed installing the saftey cable barrier in the median there, Leaming says. It's part of last year's I-5 paving project between Medford and Ashland, covering both northbound and southbound lanes between mileposts 19 and 27, Leaming says.

The contractor, Gage It Construction of Central Point, halted the cable-barrier construction last fall because the median was too soggy to work in, Leaming says. The company has recently resumed this $2.1 million piece of the construction, currently focusing on the median between Phoenix and the Suncrest Rest Area near Talent, he says.

 — 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. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.