Grants Pass freeway closure off, but Medford paving today

(Updated, 1:18 p.m.)
A last-minute paving project on Interstate 5 near Medford has caused a line of traffic that stretches from the city’s south end to Phoenix.

One lane of the freeway will remain closed until a subcontractor finishes paving a quarter-mile-long lane sometime today, said Gary Leaming, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Leaming said transportation officials decided last night that the project would have to be paved today. The paving was completed for the first time last night, he said, but it resulted in a 2- to 3-inch “lip” of paving material between the lanes.

Allowing the lip to remain would have been unsafe, he said, so the department decided on the daytime project “even though it would mean congestion in the short term.”

Leaming said officials hope the work will be wrapped up by 3 p.m., but that the work may take longer.

(Updated, 12:45 p.m.) Northbound freeway traffic at Medford is slow between Medford and Phoenix because of a paving project under way today. It is expected to wrap up by tonight.

A construction project that would have closed northbound freeway ramps at Grants Pass starting today is off until at least next week, but drivers will face lane closures near Medford.

The state Department of Transportation had intended to close the ramp connecting Interstate 5 and U.S. 199 at Exit 55 so workers could remove temporary bridge-construction supports over the road.

The department first said it planned to begin the work on Monday and then said it would move it to today. Now it has been delayed until after the holiday weekend, ODOT said in a news release.

"To ensure we don't affect traffic this holiday weekend with this project, ODOT has told the contractor to delay the falsework removal until after the July 4th holiday," said spokesman Gary Leaming. "That way we'll have a better handle on the schedule and its impacts to traffic."

In Medford today, paving is planned on a quarter mile of northbound freeway just south of the Bear Creek bridges. One lane will be closed for the project, and transportation officials expect congestion in the area. They expect that project to wrap up this afternoon.

— Staff reports

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