I-5 Victory Boulevard to Lombard Street
Location: Portland, Oregon
This complex, high profile, $65 million multimodal project is of great significance for Oregon and Washington. As the only continuous interstate on the West Coast, Interstate 5 (I-5) is critical to the local and regional economy as a transportation and trade corridor. I-5 between the Victory Boulevard and Lombard Street interchanges in Portland is a key 1.3-mile section of the corridor that supports a volume of over 120,000 vehicles a day. A 2002 bi-state study of the I-5 corridor concluded that this section had significant deficiencies that needed to be improved as the first priority among multiple I-5 corridor projects identified. Ever since the freeway was originally constructed in the 1960s traffic traveling south within this section was reduced from three lanes to two, creating a bottleneck. In addition to the inadequate southbound lanes, other issues within the section included substandard shoulders, medians, acceleration lanes, interchanges, and structures. The result was congestion, severe during peak commute hours, and safety problems. The recommendation of the study was that this section of I-5 should be widened to three lanes in each direction with significant associated improvements, and that the project should go to construction as quickly as possible.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) assembled an experienced and motivated team that included prime consultant DEA, construction contractor Hamilton Construction Company, and 45 subcontractors, including 10 disadvantaged and minority firms. A strong partnership formed early in the project between the ODOT, DEA, and Hamilton. This partnership was based upon respect for each other and the project purpose, and the drive to deliver a quality result for the community in a timely manner with minimal disruptions. The project had four major objectives, to: (1) widen I-5 southbound between the Victory Boulevard and Lombard Street interchanges from two lanes to three with minimal loss of mobility during construction; (2) bring the highway section up to current ODOT standards; (3) help prepare the corridor on the Oregon side for the Columbia River Crossing, a major Oregon-Washington I-5 bridge and infrastructure project; and (4) support future local improvements. The project scope included extensive highway and local infrastructure improvements that all had to be built within the tight constraints of three construction seasons, including the construction of multiple bridge improvements within short in-water work periods. ODOT, DEA, and Hamilton were committed from early in the project and throughout construction to collaboratively develop and execute a project plan that would achieve all of the objectives and construct the complex project on schedule and within budget. The result was a highly successful project. I-5: Victory Boulevard to Lombard Street was completed early with negligible impacts to the public and corridor mobility during construction, and was delivered nearly $5 million under budget. The success of this project was the direct result of collaboration, experience, commitment, and proactive planning.