After two fatal crossover crashes on Interstate 5 in the past month, the State of Oregon is expediting a plan to add cable barriers to the unprotected medians.
Two people were killed September 24 in a crossover freeway crash in Salem. On October 23, a woman was killed north of Albany when her vehicle went across the grassy median, hitting a semi-truck. This prompted Oregon's Governor, John Kitzhaber and the Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, Matthew Garrett, to call for an emergency bidding process to erect cable barriers along more than 40 miles of I-5. ODOT Communications Director Tom Fuller says they had planned to put out bids for the projects in February 2015, but that has been moved up to this week.
Fuller: "This will really allow us to close up an area that we've been wanting to do for several years and just didn't have the funding. Recently, funding became available and we started planning the projects, which is a good thing because those plans are now at a place where we can do an expedited contracting process and really get the work started quickly."
About 36 miles of cable barriers will go up in Linn County. Another 7 miles will be added in Salem. Fuller says cable barriers are less expensive than concrete ones. He adds they also are more forgiving in crashes and help slow and redirect the vehicle when hit. ODOT expects to select a contractor by November 5.