A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A paving solution? (And what’s this bird?)

Written November 29th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Perched on top of a pole, this little raptor was watching traffic below, or maybe just resting, on Nov. 25, 2023.

While I was on a bike ride Saturday, a bird caught my eye as it landed on a pole on the on-ramp to the Pacific Boulevard viaduct in Albany. But that was not the reason I stopped.

The reason I got off the bike was that I wanted to get a photo of the on-ramp. I wanted to illustrate an approach ODOT has taken to fixing highways that are cracking up under heavy traffic.

When the pavement starts breaking up, it often cracks where the wheels of passing vehicles pound it thousands of times a day. So instead of replacing or renewing the entire highway from one side to the other, ODOT sometimes  replaces just the pavement in the tracks that vehicles use.

Presumably that saves money, at least for a few years. It’s an approach Albany might consider as the city tries to figure how to fix some of its crumbling streets without spending money it doesn’t have.

Here’s the on-ramp above which that bird was perched. Note the new pavement just in the parts impacted by passing wheels.

This approach to road repair doesn’t require closing the entire street for months at a time. I’ve never actually witnessed this work being done, so mayby it takes just a few hours and takes place at night.

While I was standing there pointing my phone, the bird just sat there and languidly peered from side to side, and once or twice down at me.

I’m guessing this was a hawk. But none of the images in the three books I checked allowed me to determine what kind of hawk it was. My photo was not sharp enough.

Was it a red-tailed hawk, so common in the valley that you used to see them stting on fence posts along the grass fields that lined Interstate 5 between Albany and Eugene? Or was it another of the half a dozen hawk varieties shown in “Birds of the Willamette Valley Region”?

Anyway, here it is one more  time, a little closer. If you think you can identify the species, feel free to do so in the comments below. (hh)

I think here the pole sitter was looking down on me.

4 responses to “A paving solution? (And what’s this bird?)”

  1. chuck says:

    I see the benefit of this partial paving. The streets in Albany are way past that treatment; they are close to gravel roads in areas of downtown.

  2. Gregory says:

    I’m not a bird expert but it definitely appears to be a red-tailed hawk. Perhaps others who view this post/image will have a better idea if it’s not that.

  3. Gregory says:

    As for the pavement repairs? Yes, good idea — I would agree the ODOT could pave the tracks as a temp fix on an ongoing issue with roads (though much like the fact that I am not a bird expert, I’m also not a highway expert haha). Fingers crossed that whatever is decided (if/when) that it won’t be too late which in turn results in more money spent on a lengthy repair process.

  4. Richard Vannice says:

    In 2021 we happened to be on a road trip to N. Dakota and travelled the Interstate through Montana. There would be stretches of several miles where the west bound lanes would be closed and traffic routed onto one lane of east bound. At one point we saw why.
    The lanes were closed and the road crew was cutting out sections of damaged concrete, rebar and all then patching with new concrete. About a week late we returned over the same route and it was smooth as silk.
    To me, definitely not an engineer, it looked like a good idea. Wait a second – close two lanes of I-5 and route it onto one lane going the other way. Disaster!!!!!!


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