Work on the northbound Interstate 5 off-ramp in south Anderson is nearing completion even as large trucks, including those pulling double trailers, easily roll through the roundabout connecting Locust, Deschutes and Factory Outlets Way with freeway on- and off-ramps.
“We’re probably 90 percent complete. The project is getting done on time, on budget and right on schedule,” said Jeff Kiser, Anderson’s city manager, during an interview Thursday, Aug. 22.
“Tonight, the future off-ramp will get fully paved. On Sunday night, the paving crew will fully pave the on-ramp as well as add the final layer of pavement to the roundabout,” Kiser said.
Work both nights started at approximately 8 p.m. and continued until approximately 5 a.m. because that is when freeway traffic is lightest, he explained, noting that paving on-ramps as well as off-ramps requires closure of the freeway’s outside or slow and merging lane so that the new paving can provide a seamless connection with the I-5 surface.
“They will pave all night and be open for the morning commute on Monday,” said Kiser.
Another large and difficult-to-install element will also be erected during the same time period, noted Dave Durette, deputy assistant director of public works for the City of Anderson.
Where the off-ramp widens to three lanes, a series of three large, green freeway-style directional signs marking lanes for traffic heading west on Factory Outlets Way, southeast on Locust or east on Deschutes will be added overhead to assist drivers exiting the freeway get to their destinations, Kiser added.
“We are operational now in the roundabout, but final paving and lane striping will take place later in September,” he said.
The new, thicker layer of final pavement will extend from Arby Way to South Barney Street, he said.
Also scheduled last will be the addition of rock on the lower portion of the roundabout’s decorative center, as well as low ground cover and shrubs leading to trees at the top of a four-foot high mound designed to block headlights and eliminate distractions from drivers entering the roundabout, Durette noted.
Large reflective yellow chevrons, all pointing to the right or counter-clockwise, will provide easy-to-read visual cues directing motorists around the circle, he added.
Finally, white rows of triangles called shark’s teeth will be painted at each entry point to the roundabout indicating a caution barrier behind which motorists should wait if traffic is already in the roundabout and heading their way, Durette said.
“All lighting for the roundabout is in place and all is operational at this time,” noted Kiser.
The nearly $6 million roundabout “is the biggest public works project to go up in Anderson since the wastewater treatment plant” was built sometime in the 1960s, the city manager said.
“The project has gone very well. We have had good partnerships with Cal-Trans and the general contractor Eddie Axner,” owner of Eddie Axner Construction, Kiser said.
“Naturally, there are always things that come up, but we have worked very well with the team through all of the issues,” he said.
Apprehensive motorists are quite often surprised with the easy flow of traffic through the roundabout, Kiser commented.
“Everyone compares our roundabout to the traffic circles on Shasta View in Redding or the even smaller circular intersections up in the Vineyards subdivision,” he said.
“But this is the real deal. Truckers know how to drive through roundabouts like ours because they have seen these all over,” Kiser said.