The Oregon Department of Transportation announced that new electronic signs have been installed on southbound Interstate 5 that will warn motorists of congestion at the Aurora-Donald Interchange (Exit 278) in Marion County. Adding the warning signs is a short-term action to improve safety until a new off-ramp is constructed as part of the planned I-5 Aurora-Donald Interchange Phase 1 project.
The new electronic warning signs have been installed at mileposts 278.79 and 278.88 and will warn drivers when traffic is backed up on the southbound off ramp at the Aurora-Donald Interchange. Increased congestion at the interchange has been an issue and frequent backups slow the movement of traffic on I-5 and create safety issues with vehicles approaching the stopped traffic.
Two truck stops and many businesses are located around the interchange. In addition, there has been increased growth and traffic in north Marion County. The Oregon Legislature’s House Bill 2017 allocates $25 million toward reconstruction of the functionally obsolete interchange. Phase 1 is currently under development and includes new off ramps that will help reduce ramp backups on to I-5. Construction of Phase 1 will begin in 2022. However, funding is not available for the full interchange reconstruction.
Another short-term action that has been completed is a widening of the I-5 southbound off ramp. The widening of the ramp and the new electronic warning signs should help reduce the queueing and crashes that have resulted from the congestion until the much larger project is completed.
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