After several night closures this week to replace the lift span motors, the Port of Hood River prepares for even more maintenance work, and subsequent bridge closures, in the near future.

The first phase of on-site work, which involved lifting and attaching skew wiring, was performed by Hage Electric on April 3-4. The bridge was then completely closed the nights of April 9-10 to lift the bridge so workers could physically replace the lift span motors, and the bridge will be closed again the nights of April 17 and April 29 to recommission the bridge and remove equipment. Motorists should also expect intermittent lane closures and delays April 25-26.

During its April 8 meeting, the port commission approved a contract with Abhe & Svoboda for miscellaneous truss and steel repairs on the bridge to be carried out no later than Aug. 31. The work will require two to three weeks of back-to-back night closures.

Facilities Manager John Mann said that he hopes Abhe & Svoboda will be able to start immediately, so some of the closures for that project can overlap with the already scheduled closures for the lift span motor project.

“Every week that we don’t extend those night closures is a relief to the public,” Mann said at the April 8 meeting.

Last year’s regular inspection of the bridge, delivered to the port commission back in November 2018, confirmed that the bridge will suffer greatly if regular maintenance is left unattended. The new bridge isn’t expected to be completed until the fourth quarter of 2028, according to the Hood River-White Salmon Bridge Replacement Project’s latest official schedule. Currently, the port is in the process of finishing environmental review studies, a $5 million process expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Motorists must seek alternate routes during full bridge closures. The nearest crossings of the Columbia are at the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks and The Dalles Bridge in The Dalles. Emergency response vehicles will coordinate Hood River/White Salmon crossings during active emergencies via 911 dispatch.

For more information, contact the Port of Hood River via email at porthr@gorge.net.

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