PORTLAND, Ore. — Beginning Sunday, July 16, the Lewis and Clark Bridge will close for up to eight days as crews make repairs to the 93-year-old structure that crosses the Columbia River between Rainier, Oregon, and Longview, Washington.
According to a news release from the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), during the closure, crews from Combined Construction Inc. will replace two of the bridge’s three expansion joints and a fractured floor beam. Officials say the repairs are necessary to ensure the long-term life of the bridge.
Pedestrians, bicyclists and emergency vehicles will be able to cross the bridge except for a 10-hour period during replacement of the fractured floor beam when no traffic at all will be allowed, according to WSDOT.
The floor beam replacement is expected to take place during the first days of the closure.
The Lewis and Clark Bridge is the only span across the Columbia River between the Astoria-Megler Bridge at the river’s mouth and the Interstate Bridge between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. The closure may create hardships for communities along the Columbia River in Clatsop and Columbia counties in Oregon and require residents to reschedule medical and other important appointments.
“Safety is our number one priority during the closure of this critical bridge, for travelers, construction crews and those who need access across the river for life-saving medical care,” said WSDOT Southwest Region Administrator Carley Francis. “We are asking the public to avoid use of the low-capacity Wahkiakum County Ferry in order to prioritize its use for first responders, healthcare workers and patients needing medical care who can’t wait.”
The bridge expansion joint replacement project had long been planned. But last April 12, bridge inspectors discovered the fractured floor beam resulting in a 12-hour emergency closure. Prior to that discovery, the bridge was scheduled to close for up to six days for expansion joint replacement work. The closure has now been extended to accommodate the additional work of installing a new floor beam.
Some night single lane closures will be necessary after completion of the July 16 full bridge closure.
Depending on where people begin and end their travel, using a detour could add upwards of two and a half hours of travel time.
People who use the Washington SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge to reach scheduled medical services should plan their travel with this in mind and contact their providers to confirm or reschedule appointments.
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