Noisy Exit 14 demolition is done

A noisy overnight demolition project is finished at exit 14 in south Ashland.

Crews finished demolishing most of the concrete from the decaying deck of the Interstate 5 overpass at about 2 a.m. today, said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming.

Now, crews will hand-chip the remaining concrete away, before cutting out the remaining rebar skeleton and rebuilding it in preparation for new concrete, Leaming said.

Sub-contractor Rampart Hydro Services started working overnight on March 21 to demolish the decaying concrete deck and planned to have night-demolition finished by March 24, until an equipment breakdown plagued the operation during its second night of work.

Before good progress was shown during the first night of work, crews originally estimated the nighttime demolition would take longer than two weeks to complete, Leaming said, but the work was finished in about half that time.

Demolition was being done at night to lessen the effect on I-5 traffic. Freeway traffic was diverted off I-5 and through the Exit 14 on- and off-ramps because of falling debris from the overpass bridge.

"Thank you for your patience while this necessary, yet noisy, work was completed," Leaming said. "Now, onto the finishing what will be a beautiful bridge when work wraps up later this summer."

He said the bridge will begin looking fairly complete by June, when Ashland's summer tourist season kicks into high gear and California travelers flood through Exit 14. Lighting, landscaping and other aspects of the project will still be unfinished in the early summer, Leaming said.

— Sam Wheeler

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