Frequently Asked Questions
Project Elements and Benefits
What improvements were included in the project?
The project improves the existing interchange and added a transit/park and ride facility. The improvements were designed to safely accommodate multi-modal travel needs for the next 20 years. Improvements included:
- A reconstructed interchange over I-5 with gateway design enhancements.
- Evergreen Transit/Park and Ride Facility
- Evergreen Road Extension
- Sound Walls
- Highway 214/ 219 Improvements – including widening, a new 6 foot wide sidewalk, a landscaped buffer, bike lanes, raised median with traffic signals and dedicated turn lanes at Willow Avenue, Woodland Avenue, Arney Road, Lawson Avenue, Evergreen Road and Oregon Way.
Who came up with the new bridge’s design features?
The City of Woodburn and ODOT worked with a citizen advisory panel to incorporate “gateway” elements into the interchange design, which were required by the federally required Environmental Assessment and approved by the Woodburn City Council. The result is a unique landform arch design for the bridge that evokes the rolling hills and agricultural roots of Woodburn and the Willamette Valley.
Why were the sound walls constructed?
Five sound walls were built as part of the interchange project. The sound walls were constructed to help reduce highway noise for nearby residential areas. Increasing future traffic volumes, along with the widening and realignment of the main highways (OR 214 and 219), and the widening and lengthening of the northbound I-5 ramp, made sound walls a necessity.
A noise study was conducted during the project’s environmental process and it was determined that the increased traffic would generate noise levels that would exceed permissible ODOT noise standards for certain affected residences and residential land uses. A cost-effectiveness analysis determined that the walls were economically feasible to construct. Six sound walls were then proposed and the majority of affected property owners and renters voted to approve five of the sound walls.
The sound walls are approximately 12 feet tall. They must be that high to effectively reduce the increasing noise levels. They were built using an attractive building block construction which is significantly different than typical sound walls used on most highways. The sound wall design was recommended by a citizen advisory panel as part of a “Gateway Design” of the interchange. The gateway design elements were required by the federal Environment Assessment and approved by the Woodburn City Council.
The walls were built as early in during construction in order to reduce noise from night-time work. The location of the sound walls can be viewed on this map.
Why wasn't a new 2nd exit built north of south of the interchange?
Ramps at Crosby Road to the north and Parr Road/ Butteville Road to the south were considered during the planning stage of the Woodburn Interchange Project but were rejected for a number of reasons including:
- Oregon law requires ODOT to improve existing state highway facilities before adding new ones. Crosby Road and Butteville Road are local roads and therefore new ramps at either of those locations would be considered a new facility, (i.e., the equivalent of a new interchange).
- To justify a new interchange at those locations, ODOT would have to prove that there is no reasonable alternative of adding to the existing interchange. Studies showed that the existing interchange could be improved to provide good service, and the potential “diversion” of traffic to Crosby Road or Butteville Road would not eliminate the need for improving the Woodburn interchange.
- An interchange at Crosby Road would conflict with the spacing policy required by the federal government for freeway interchanges. It would be too close to the existing interchange to safely handle lane changing movements resulting from exiting and entering movements on I-5.
- The local road network would not be able to handle the increased traffic on either Crosby Road or Parr Road/Butteville Road without adding additional travel lanes, which the local governments could not afford and the state could not invest in.
Will the new interchange eliminate congestion during Black Friday, the Tulip Festival and other events?
The project is designed to improve congestion and traffic flow in and around the interchange during normal/daily traffic periods. While traffic flow should improve during major events, there will still be congestion because of the very high traffic that these events attract.
Why wasn't the interchange designed to handle traffic volumes generated by special events such as Black Friday?
The project is designed to improve congestion and traffic flow in and around the interchange during typical traffic periods and to help during major events. It is clear that the new interchange enhancements have significantly reduced congestion and improved safety as the interchange now operates much more efficiently.
While traffic flow should improve during major events given all the improvements of the new interchange, we could not afford the cost and impacts of a design that would accommodate all traffic, no matter the generator. Besides an event like Black Friday shopping, there are times when special events in the general area may overlap such as the races, rodeos, festivals and special retail sales, creating unusually high congestion because of the volumes of traffic these events attract.
The interchange was designed to meet the typical traffic volumes and not those unusually high peaks. To over build to accommodate traffic for a few major events would have huge impacts to the community and would not be cost effective when we have so many other needs along the entire highway system.
The backups on OR 219 and Interstate 5 are a result of exceptionally high traffic demands that cannot easily be addressed such as arrival/departure times, parking that is hard to access and may be inadequate, and is too close to the interchange for the system to accommodate it.
As part of the Woodburn Interchange Project concrete islands were built in the median along OR 214 in the Woodburn Interchange. The islands will increase safety and traffic flow around the interchange by limiting left turns to the major signalized intersections (Evergreen, Country Club and Woodland).
Correcting safety problems was a critically important reason for doing this highway project. Left turn movements on the highway were a major reason why we had several high crash sites around the interchange. Signalizing left turn movements at intersections and preventing mid-block left turns, make this new project much safer for travelers around the interchange.
U-turns are now permitted at Evergreen, Country Club and Woodland. The U-turns at Evergreen and Country Club enable vehicles headed west to enter into the businesses on the south side of the highway.
Also, limiting left turn movements will significantly address functional or operational issues within the interchange area by increasing the traffic flow and reducing congestion.
The interchange design with medians on OR 214 went through an extensive environmental and public involvement process and was approved by the city, state and federal government. That process is detailed below.
- Woodburn Interchange Project Environmental Assessment, July 1, 2005
- Figure 2-6, Alternative Widen North shows medians in OR 214
- This document was prepared on the basis of extensive meetings with local businesses that were aware of the plan cited above
- Interchange Area Management Plan, Interstate 5 @ Oregon 214/219, June 2006
- Based on the Environmental Assessment Preferred Alternative, Widen North (with medians), this document was approved by ODOT and the City of Woodburn. Intergovernmental Agreement No. 23,420, 06/01/06
- This document contains an extensive record of all stakeholder meetings in Section 5 and Appendix F
- Woodburn Interchange Project Revised Environmental Assessment, November 2006
- This document finalized the Preferred Alternative with medians
- The Public Hearing Transcript is in Appendix D
- Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Signed by FHWA 12/08/2006
- This document was the final federal approval of the Preferred Alternative which contained medians
Coordination with the City of Woodburn
What was the City of Woodburn’s role in this project?
The City was an important and collaborative partner in the project. The City contributed $8 million to the project. In addition, the City supported the gateway design enhancement process, and provided utility relocation and tree removal services. The City has agreed to provide the maintenance on the new gateway design features, including landscaping, signage and bridge lighting. The City was also an active partner in helping communicate project information to the public and emergency service providers during construction by furnishing and operating live video feeds on the highway east and west of the freeway.
How does this project fit with the City of Woodburn’s Transportation System Plan?
See page 2-25 of the TSP document located in the resource library.
What transit services will be provided at the Transit Facility?
The City of Woodburn is working with transit providers with the goal of providing intercity service from the Transit Facility. To date, no definite agreements are in place, check the City of Woodburn's website for the most up-to-date information.What happened to the Welcome to Woodburn sign?
The City has reinstalled the sign in a newly landscaped area near the future NW corner of the improved Evergreen Rd. and OR 214. The sign was created and built in 2009 by Eagle Scout Brighton Youd, as his Eagle community service project.