The Oregon Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it has put out a request for proposals for a general contractor for the Interstate 5 Rose Quarter project, which would add exit and merge lanes to a roughly 2-mile stretch of the freeway between the junctions with Interstates 84 and 405.
The project is billed as a way to reduce congestion and increase safety in a high-crash corridor, although critics contend that the widened freeway will induce more traffic. The most recent estimate pegged the project cost at a minimum of $715 million.
ODOT said it chose the construction manager/general contractor model in order to bring the contractor on board early in the design phase. The request for proposals will remain open for five weeks, with a mandatory pre-proposal video conference scheduled for April 28.
Earlier this month the Oregon Transportation Commission ruled that the project would not need a full Environmental Impact Statement, which would have pushed back the start of construction work.
Separate from the Rose Quarter project, ODOT has also been working on a project to evaluate possible ways to implement tolling on portions of Interstates 5 and 205 in Portland. The agency announced some changes to that program on Tuesday, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency is forming an Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee to explore how the tolling could be paired with strategies to benefit historically under-served populations. Five of the committee members will be at-large positions filled through a public application process. The application deadline has been extended to May 1.
ODOT also launched an online survey in early March to learn about when, why and how often drivers use a portion of Interstate 205 near the Abernethy Bridge in Oregon City. That study will be paused until later in the year, the agency said on Tuesday, because the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures have changed travel patterns throughout the region.