Nine-day closure of the Interstate Bridge northbound span: Sept. 19-27, 2020
Sept. 25, 2020
Immediately following the northbound span closure, one lane of southbound I-5 closes for one week
A crew member removes pins and connections early on in the project.
Crews are working 12-hour shifts around the clock to get the northbound span of the Interstate Bridge open again.
They’re up there, day and night, rain or shine, getting the work done. There are engineers, construction specialists, traffic flaggers and safety officials.
Some are working at the bridge deck level, some at the top of that familiar green tower, 239 feet above the Columbia River on a temporary work platform.
The span has been closed since Saturday morning for replacement of parts – some of them 103 years old — in the lift mechanism. The project is all about keeping the lift span working for the river traffic that needs the span raised on the way upriver or downriver.
Above: old pins in place on the bridge. Below: pins removed.
A stubborn fastener
One of the challenging elements of replacing aging bridge components was removing the pins, a type of fastener used on the bridge. Our 1997 crews who replaced the trunnion in the north tower faced the same challenge.
Some of the pins were original to the bridge and were stubborn to remove, necessitating the use of cutting torches and other techniques to remove them from their 103-year-old locations.
Thankfully, our crews prevailed and successfully removed the pins from the bridge, a critical step early on in the process to remove old cables.
Each of the 60 pins removed were:
11 inches tall.
How’s it going?
The closure of the I-5 Interstate Bridge northbound span is scheduled for completion by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Immediately following the closure, the left lane on the southbound span will close around the clock for a week.
Ponding water has forced closure of the northbound I-5 off-ramp to Vancouver City Center. It will remain closed until conditions improve.
Crews are testing the lift span. These lifts will not impact traffic.
Reminders for travelers
Bike and pedestrian travelers crossing the Interstate Bridge in both directions are sharing the sidewalk on the southbound span. Cyclists, please walk your bike across the bridge to increase safety for all users on the narrow sidewalk.
Immediately following the closure, the left lane on the southbound span will close around the clock for a week as crews upgrade the median barrier and wrap up the project.
After the closure, travelers should expect occasional night lane closures on I-5 with lifts of the northbound span of up to 30 minutes. Also expect nighttime ramp closures between Victory Boulevard in Portland and SR 14 in Vancouver.
The Interstate Bridge is jointly owned by Oregon and Washington and is maintained and operated by ODOT. The two states are sharing the $13 million cost of this project. The northbound span opened in 1917 and the southbound span in 1958.
About the project
The northbound span of the Interstate Bridge will close from Sept. 19-27, 2020 as crews replace mechanical parts that help lift and lower the bridge. The Interstate Bridge is located on I-5 where it connects Oregon and Washington across the Columbia River.
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