UNION — The Oregon Department of Transportation announced via a press release Wednesday that the eastbound Exit 179 off-ramp on Interstate 84 to Interstate 82 will be closed for 24 hours beginning at 10 p.m. Sept. 7.
The closure is to seal the ramp’s bridge deck and complete other repairs.
“We wanted to get the word out as soon as possible so people know and can be prepared,” said ODOT spokesman Tom Strandberg said.
According to Strandberg, the construction is happening now because there was another project completing bridge repairs to the north and now seemed the ample time to complete work on Exit 179.
During the closure, the press release states motorists needing to use Exit 179 can instead take Exit 168 to U.S. 730, then continue on U.S. 730 for 15 miles until connecting to I-82 near Umatilla. The press release warns that travelers should be cautious using the U.S. 730 detour due to potentially higher traffic.
Non-commercial vehicles can also take Exit 180 at the Westland Road interchange to get on the I-84 westbound lanes and take Exit 179 from there to connect to I-82. Exit 180 is not suitable for commercial vehicles, Strandberg said, because the off-ramps turn radius isn’t as gradual as those built for freight trucks.
ODOT also announced in a separate release on Wednesday it will be hosting a public meeting in Union on Monday, Aug. 26, to discuss a pilot project focused on improving sidewalk curb ramps in the city.
“Your input is greatly appreciated as we work to improve accessibility and safety for our community members,” said ODOT Transportation Project Manager Howard Postovit in the release.
The project is scheduled to begin construction in 2020 and is necessary to comply with a 2016 settlement between ODOT and a group of Oregonians that required the state to meet current requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became law in 1990 and prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.
The settlement required the state to immediately fund $5 million for 10,000 curb ramps and 1,500 pedestrian crossing signals. ODOT was then required to construct a plan to inventory all non-compliant curb ramps and crossing signals that included target benchmarks for completion.
By 2022, ODOT must have replaced or upgraded 30% of non-compliant curb ramps. All curb ramps must meet ADA standards by 2032.
In Union, ODOT plans to add or upgrade curb ramps along Main Street between Bryant and Oregon Street, and along Beakman Street between Main and College Street. Strandberg said he wasn’t sure exactly why Union’s locations were chosen for the pilot project but that other pilot curb ramp improvements were also happening in Enterprise and cities in western Oregon.
Beyond improving these locations in Union, the project will inform ODOT on how best to proceed with upgrading over 26,000 curb ramps across the state.
“The project will showcase innovating ramp designs and construction techniques that will help streamline the process as we try to catch up,” Strandberg said.
The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. during the Union City Council Workshop meeting at Union City Hall, which is located at 342 South Main Street. According to the press release, the meeting locations is accessible to persons with disabilities. Those needing alternate or special accommodations can contact Postovit at Howard.Postavit@odot.state.or.us.