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This site provides information about the upcoming project to improve the seismic resiliency of U.S. 97 by retrofitting six bridges and replacing one bridge  in the Klamath Falls area deemed vulnerable to an earthquake. These improvements will allow U.S. 97 to fulfill its role as a primary north-south lifeline route in the aftermath of a major earthquake.

This online open house is set up in six stations that can be reviewed quickly and easily by clicking on the navigation bars at the top and bottom of each page pointing to the next or previous stop. Content includes photos, maps, illustrations, construction impacts detour routes, timelines and videos.

Stations

Project scope, purpose, and details
The bridges that will be retrofitted or replaced and what will be done to them
Photos of tools and video of ODOT Bridge Engineer explaining retrofitting
Cascadia Subduction Zone and the Oregon Resiliency Plan
What ODOT intends to achieve with this project
Schedule, detour maps, web links and contact info

Project Overview

This project will replace one bridge and retrofit six bridges with seismic retrofits on U.S. 97 from the intersection with OR58 south to the California border.

The project will also add protective screening on three bridges that pass over railroad lines and upgrade guardrails on all bridges to current ODOT standards.

Project Manager Cari Charlton gives project overview

Project will improve seismic resiliency of U.S. 97 - an Oregon Lifeline Route

 Most of the bridges in western Oregon are expected to suffer serious damage or destruction in a major earthquake. Since the expected ground-shaking in Central Oregon is expected to be lower than will be experienced in the Willamette Valley and Oregon coast, the state of Oregon will look to U.S. 97 to absorb the extra traffic pressure and function as a critical transportation corridor in the days and weeks following a major earthquake. In order to ensure that U.S 97 remains a resilient north-south highway corridor, ODOT determined that seven bridges in the Klamath Falls area are highly vulnerable to earthquake damage. ODOT decided it is necessary to retrofit six bridges and replace one – U.S. 97 over Lakeport Blvd, also known as the Pelican City Bridge.


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About this project

In the case of a major seismic event in Oregon, the main help for affected areas is expected to come from the eastern part of the state. The Redmond Municipal Airport will be used as the main hub and command center  for transporting goods and medical supplies. Therefore, creating a resilient highway system that provides reliable ground access to this air transportation hub is an essential mission of the project. 
ODOT has classified the retrofitting of U.S. 97 as a Stage 1 strategic priority for the recovery effort from a major earthquake. 


Initially, ODOT identified 14 bridges as prime candidates for retrofitting. For budget and work efficiencies, those bridges were bundled into two groups – the North U.S. 97 group and the South U.S. 97 group.


Retrofitting was recently completed for the seven North U.S. 97 bundle of bridges, (Biggs Junction, Spanish Hollow Creek and Trout Creek Bridges.)  Now ODOT is focusing on the South U.S. 97 bundle of bridges in the Klamath Falls area. This will complete Stage 1 bridge retrofitting in Oregon.
 

ODOT Bridge Engineer Paul Strauser explains Klamath Bridge work

From north to south, the following bridges are included as part of this project:

  • US97 over UPRR (Lobert Bridge)
  • US97 over Nevada Ave
  • US97 over USBOR Canal
  • US97 over Link River (Link River Bridge)
  • US97 over OR140 (Greensprings Interchange)
  • US97 over Klamath River

US97 over UPRR (Lobert Bridge)  - This is a bridge is just south of the Williamson River, crossing over the UPRR.  Retrofits for this bridge consist of strengthening supports below the bridge. As a result, most work will occur below the bridge.  This work will be completed from the deck of the bridge.  In addition, since access below the bridge is limited, equipment and materials may be stored on the bridge and roadway above.

US97 over UPRR (Lobert Bridge)  - This is a bridge is just south of the Williamson River, crossing over the UPRR.  Retrofits for this bridge consist of strengthening supports below the bridge. As a result, most work will occur below the bridge.  

US97 over Lakeport Blvd & UPRR (Pelican City Bridge)  - This bridge is located just south of the U.S. 97/OR39 intersection at the north end of Klamath Falls. The bridge is often referred to as Pelican City Bridge. During project development the team looked at retrofitting the current bridge but due to high repair costs and future maintenance costs, ODOT decided to replace the bridge. The bridge replacement will be done by closing U.S. 97 for up to six weeks and using accelerated bridge construction to remove the existing bridge and build a new bridge in the same place. Typically replacing a bridge with conventional bridge replacement methods take around six months (or longer). So with Accelerated bridge construction will shorter the impact to the traveling public. For this bridge, much of the new bridge will be constructed below the existing bridge. Once the new bridge is in place, the roadway leading up the bridge will be constructed and guardrail installed. Once all the safety elements are completed, the roadway will be opened to traffic. While the highway is closed a detour for trucks and passenger vehicles will be in place.

 

US97 over Lakeport Blvd & UPRR (Pelican City Bridge)  - This bridge is located just south of the U.S. 97/OR39 intersection at the north end of Klamath Falls. The bridge is often referred to as Pelican City Bridge. During project development the team looked at retrofitting the current bridge but due to high repair costs and future maintenance costs, ODOT decided to replace the bridge. The bridge replacement will be done by closing U.S. 97 for up to six weeks and using accelerated bridge construction to remove the existing bridge and build a new bridge in the same place. Typically replacing a bridge with conventional bridge replacement methods take around six months (or longer). So with Accelerated bridge construction will shorter the impact to the traveling public. For this bridge, much of the new bridge will be constructed below the existing bridge. Once the new bridge is in place, the roadway leading up the bridge will be constructed and guardrail installed. Once all the safety elements are completed, the roadway will be opened to traffic. While the highway is closed a detour for trucks and passenger vehicles will be in place.

US97 over Nevada Ave - This bridge is just to the south of the Pelican City Bridge. This bridge will require two main retrofit elements. The first are drilled shafts at behind the south end of the bridge.  During drilled shaft construction, two lanes of traffic will be closed and traffic on U.S. 97 to be shifted to one side of the bridge to allow the construction contractor to work from the roadway to install the drilled shafts. The second retrofit element consists of enlarging the footings (under the ground) for interior bents on either side of Nevada Avenue. This will require shift Nevada Avenue traffic to one side, and then the other, to allow construction on the footings.  During that time, the turn lane in the middle of the road will be closed.  Staging to occur on Nevada Avenue under the bridge.

US97 over Nevada Ave - This bridge is just to the south of the Pelican City Bridge. This bridge will require two main retrofit elements. The first are drilled shafts behind the south end of the bridge.  During drilled shaft construction, two lanes of traffic will be closed and traffic on U.S. 97 to be shifted to one side of the bridge to allow the construction contractor to work from the roadway to install the drilled shafts. The second retrofit element consists of enlarging the footings (under the ground) for interior bents on either side of Nevada Avenue. This will require shift Nevada Avenue traffic to one side, and then the other, to allow construction on the footings.  During that time, the turn lane in the middle of the road will be closed.  Staging to occur on Nevada Avenue under the bridge.

 US97 over USBOR Canal - This bridge is just to the south of the U.S. 97 over Nevada Avenue Bridge.  This bridge will have two types of retrofits, those above the bridge on U.S. 97, and the other below the bridge. Within the U.S. 97 roadway, drilled shafts will be installed at the bridge ends.  Similar to the Nevada Avenue Bridge, this will require closing two lanes temporarily and shifting traffic to one side of the bridge.  Beneath the bridge, one support will be strengthened by installing micropiles through the existing footings. Additionally, various connections between the bridge deck and the supports will also be strengthened at all bridge supports.

US97 over USBOR Canal - This bridge is just to the south of the U.S. 97 over Nevada Avenue Bridge.  This bridge will have two types of retrofits, those above the bridge on U.S. 97, and the other below the bridge. Within the U.S. 97 roadway, drilled shafts will be installed at the bridge ends.  Similar to the Nevada Avenue Bridge, this will require closing two lanes temporarily and shifting traffic to one side of the bridge.  Beneath the bridge, one support will be strengthened by installing micropiles through the existing footings. Additionally, various connections between the bridge deck and the supports will also be strengthened at all bridge supports.

US97 over Link River (Link River Bridge) - This is by far the most complex retrofit in this bridge bundle. Bridge replacement isn't an option with the current funding so the construction contractor will be essentially be strengthening or completely replacing all of the bridges supports.  In addition, connections between the bridge deck and supports will be will also be strengthened. On U.S. 97, drilled shafts will be installed behind each end of the bridge, including the southbound off-ramp.  During this time, traffic will be restricted to one lane due to the narrowness of the bridge.  Traffic will be flagged through the bridge, one direction at a time.  While installing the drilled shafts behind the southbound off-ramp, the ramp will be closed, with traffic detoured down to OR66/Green Springs Highway Interchange.  Beneath the bridge, construction activities are extensive, and will require Conger Avenue to be closed for about a year. Local access will still be allowed while Conger Avenue is closed to through traffic. While it is closed, support strengthening will included installing micropiles through footings, enlarging and strengthening columns, and installing restrainer cables and keys to better connect the deck onto the supports. In addition, Main Street will be narrowed to two lanes and shifted to the south to allow the support adjacent the road to be replaced completely.  In addition, the western access road to Veterans Park will also be temporarily closed.  This will allow access to the five supports in the Link River, which are also being replaced entirely.  Due to limitations on when work can occur within the Link River, construction is expected to take about four years.

US97 over Link River (Link River Bridge) - This is by far the most complex retrofit in this bridge bundle. Bridge replacement isn't an option with the current funding so the construction contractor will be essentially be strengthening or completely replacing all of the bridges supports.  In addition, connections between the bridge deck and supports will be will also be strengthened. On U.S. 97, drilled shafts will be installed behind each end of the bridge, including the southbound off-ramp.  During this time, traffic will be restricted to one lane due to the narrowness of the bridge.  Traffic will be flagged through the bridge, one direction at a time.  While installing the drilled shafts behind the southbound off-ramp, the ramp will be closed, with traffic detoured down to OR66/Green Springs Highway Interchange.  Beneath the bridge, construction activities are extensive, and will require Conger Avenue to be closed for about a year. Local access will still be allowed while Conger Avenue is closed to through traffic. While it is closed, support strengthening will included installing micropiles through footings, enlarging and strengthening columns, and installing restrainer cables and keys to better connect the deck onto the supports. In addition, Main Street will be narrowed to two lanes and shifted to the south to allow the support adjacent the road to be replaced completely.  In addition, the western access road to Veterans Park will also be temporarily closed.  This will allow access to the five supports in the Link River, which are also being replaced entirely.  Due to limitations on when work can occur within the Link River, construction is expected to take about four years.

 US97 over OR140 (Greensprings Interchange)- This is the U.S. 97 Bridge over Highway OR66 Green Spring Highway. Retrofitting the bridge consists of strengthening the supports and the connections between the deck of the bridge and those supports.  All work will be completed below the bridge, so no traffic impacts will occur on U.S.97.  This will require closing a lane in each direction on OR66 to provide access to each support. 

US97 over OR140 (Greensprings Interchange)- This is the U.S. 97 Bridge over Highway OR66 Green Spring Highway. Retrofitting the bridge consists of strengthening the supports and the connections between the deck of the bridge and those supports.  All work will be completed below the bridge, so no traffic impacts will occur on U.S.97.  This will require closing a lane in each direction on OR66 to provide access to each support. 

US97 over Klamath River - This bridge has minimal retrofit work needed. Work will be completed from the highway at the north end of the bridge and from beneath the bridge at the south end.  During construction, shoulders will be closed and traffic shifted to one side or the other on a daily basis.  Traffic control measures will be installed daily, with the shoulders and roadway being opened at the end of each work shift.  

US97 over Klamath River - This bridge has minimal retrofit work needed. Work will be completed from the highway at the north end of the bridge and from beneath the bridge at the south end.  During construction, shoulders will be closed and traffic shifted to one side or the other on a daily basis.  Traffic control measures will be installed daily, with the shoulders and roadway being opened at the end of each work shift.

 

A note for all bridges…

Many of the bridges will have existing guardrail replaced with new guardrail meeting current safety and crash standards. Also, three of the seven bridges are over railroads. All three of these bridges will have protective fencing installed to protect objects, road debris and snow from falling onto the railroad tracks and trains.

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Retrofitting tools and techniques

Concrete shear keys or shear lugs are cast in between girders to prevent the girders from “unseating” in the transverse direction (falling off of the concrete pad upon which the girder sits). Steel cable restrainers connect two adjacent bridge spans to the supporting bent cap to prevent girders from unseating in the longitudinal direction (falling of the supporting bent cap).


 

ODOT Bridge Engineer Paul Strauser explains complexities of Link River Bridge retrofit

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Project Background

Earthquakes in Oregon

Cascadia Subduction is state's greatest natural threat

Earthquakes have been recognized as one of the major natural hazards in Oregon since the late 1980s. This recognition stems from geologic research into the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and the observation of crustal faults resulting from earthquake activity in the Klamath Falls area. This has created concern over Oregon’s ability to deal with a major earthquake.

The 1993 Scotts Mills earthquake (M5.6) and Klamath Falls earthquakes (M5.9 and M6.0) demonstrated the potential hazards of crustal earthquakes in Oregon, although these were smaller and more frequent than a Cascadia subduction 
earthquake, which is considered by experts to be “The Big One” due to its forecast magnitude of greater than 8.0.

Scientists believe that Oregon experiences a Cascadia Subduction earthquake about every 300 years. It has now been more than 320 years since the last subduction earthquake.

No one knows when the Cascadia subduction event will occur, but Oregon’s top scientists, engineers, and policy makers agree that it is possible to significantly lessen the statewide catastrophic impact from a natural disaster  through planning and investment in improvement of Oregon’s structural resilience. That is how and why this project was born.

Oregon's Earthquake Commission

Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), also known as the Earthquake Commission, is tasked with promoting earthquake awareness and preparedness in Oregon. The mission of OSSPAC is to influence decisions and policies regarding pre-disaster mitigation of earthquake hazards and to increase public understanding of earthquake risks in Oregon. This group  is charged with guiding policy and investment in resiliency projects such as  U.S. 97 bridges retrofits.

U.S. 97 an Oregon Lifeline Route
 


 

Cascadia Subduction Zone and 'The Big One' - OSU New Media Communications
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Goals & Objectives

Avert a major bridge failure.

Public safety: prevent loss of life that would result from catastrophic bridge failure.


Bolster transportation system reliability: Increase the ability of bridges in the Klamath Falls Area to withstand both local and Cascadia earthquakes


Facilitate economic recovery: Maintaining a viable U.S. 97 will be vital to Oregon’s response to a Cascadia earthquake by supporting movement of goods and services that will be needed to rebuild damaged structures and resume normal economic activity.


Mobility: provide a safe and efficient transportation system for all modes of travel, including local trips, through trips on the highway, emergency services, and freight.


Financial Responsibility and Transparency: Use resources efficiently and invest in infrastructure that will serve the community and statewide highway for years to come.

 
Community Trust & Confidence: instill confidence in the community that ODOT and the State of Oregon are proactively addressing  and mitigating the threat of a Cascadia Subduction event.

Complete South U.S. 97 bundle of U.S. 97 bridges. The effective completion of the first major leg of Oregon’s 50-year comprehensive seismic bridge resiliency project will represent an important milestone when Oregon has its first seismically retrofitted north-south route.


Minimize construction and traffic impacts. Accommodate local residents and businesses by planning effective construction routes. In one case, a temporary bridge will be built next to one being replaced to reduce impacts on the local community.


Increase awareness and education of Oregonians with respect to earthquake risk and preparedness. It is important that citizens understand the threat a major earthquake poses and understand the appropriate response proposed  by ODOT Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission(OSSPAC), and State of Oregon, and raise general awareness of earthquake preparedness in Oregon.


Provide a transportation network. This network  accommodates local, commuter, and regional traffic, including freight movements along U.S. 97. 
 

Schedule and Construction Impacts

Contract will be put out for out for bids Summer 2021

          Construction is slated for 2021-2025

* There will be seasonal adjustments for in-water work in the Link River.

Please visit the PROJECT WEBSITEfor seasonal construction updates:

U.S. 97 will be closed for six weeks when the bridge over Lakeport Blvd. and Pelican Road is replaced.

During the closure, passenger vehicles will be redirected as follows:

Northbound Passenger Detour Route -- U.S. 97 to Nevada St. to Biehn St. to Crater Lake Parkway to U.S. 97.

Southbound Passenger Detour Route -- U.S. 97 to Crater Lake Parkway to Biehn St. to Nevada St. to U.S. 97

Passenger Vehicle Detour Route during U.S. 97 closure

THANK YOU FOR VISITING OUR OPEN HOUSE!

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