One key goal of ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office is to expand contracting and workforce opportunities for historically disadvantaged groups. Over 100 potential opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms have been identified for the first I-205 contract. The I-205 Improvements public involvement team engaged Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms and associations in the summer and fall of 2021, hosting networking events with potential prime contractors to prepare firms for the bidding process. The project team is also participating in a pilot program administered by the Federal Highway Administration to address inequities in the construction industry by allowing a local hiring preference. The program increases workforce development opportunities and improves participation in existing training and education programs in the Portland metro area.
Oregonians experience nearly seven hours of traffic backups on I-205 every day. The I-205 Improvements Project is the first major effort to launch from HB 2017 passed by the Oregon Legislature to provide key bottleneck relief and seismic upgrades on the interstate in Clackamas County. Upon completion of both phases, the project will add a third lane to match the rest of I-205 and replace or retrofit nine bridges to be earthquake-ready. The Abernethy Bridge will be the first earthquake-ready interstate structure across the Willamette River, making I-205 the passable north-south route through the Portland region in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone.
“The I-205 improvements, along with the 217 auxiliary lane efforts signify the beginning in a series of investments that make up ODOT’s Urban Mobility Strategy to decrease congestion, increase safety, and transition the metro area to a more sustainable transportation system,” said Brendan Finn, Director of ODOT’s Urban Mobility Office. “These projects will help make everyday travel safer and healthier for Oregonians while also supporting a vibrant state economy."