HR Bridge overlay to start soon

The Port of Hood River is set to begin a $266,000 bridge approach overlay and joint rehabilitation project in less than two weeks, which will cause delays and closures for motorists traveling over the Hood River Bridge for approximately one month.

Port Executive Director Michael McElwee described the work, which is scheduled to start Monday, July 7, as “essentially a repaving job,” that will rehabilitate sections of the bridge that have deteriorated due to normal use.

McElwee reported that the approach ramps on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the bridge — the non-metal portions of the bridge deck — have become worn and pitted due to vehicle travel, which will require the concrete surface of the approach ramps to be removed and replaced.

Other work will consist of addressing spalling that has occurred on the concrete pilings that make up the bridge bents — or supports in lay terms — near the BNSF railroad tracks on the Washington side of the bridge. Spalling is essentially the weathering and chipping of concrete, which McElwee explained often occurs due to wear and tear caused by the elements. He added that “extra attention” will also be paid to the north expansion joint on the Washington side of the bridge to make sure water is properly diverted from the bridge feature.

Wildish Standard Paving, a construction company based out of Eugene, was the winning bidder for the project. Wildish is the same contractor that performed the port’s $4.2-million toll booth plaza project in 2007 that renovated the plaza and added the BreezeBy tolling transponder system.

The work will require one-lane closures on the bridge from July 7 until Aug. 8. Closures are scheduled weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the port warns motorists that delays of 10-15 minutes should be anticipated. Four full closures of the bridge are also scheduled, but the exact dates are unknown, although the port expects those closures will occur from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. on either a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

The port says it aims to get the deck work completed “before the fruit hauling season.” Underdeck work is scheduled for completion by the end of August.

Those with questions about the project are advised to call the port at 541-386-1645.

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