Innovation, teamwork get big load around an old bridge

Still from Bridging the Gap

How do you move a piece of equipment too big and too heavy for a 70-year-old bridge? Build a temporary bridge over it at night – and take it down in time for regular traffic in the morning.

The only way to get this over-dimension load from Rainier to Hillsboro was to use Cornelius Pass Road. Omega Morgan, the motor carrier transporting the shipment, needed three weekend overnight closures earlier this spring to accomplish this feat.

Over-dimension Permit Analyst Sebonae Zamudio of the Commerce and Compliance Division spent nearly four months coordinating the move with several entities, including:

Bridging the gap on Rock Creek Bridge
  • Omega Morgan, the motor carrier transporting the load.
  • Multnomah County Right-of-Way Department.
  • Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation Road Operations and Maintenance Division.
  • ODOT Region 1 Electrical.
  • ODOT Districts 1 and 2B.
  • ODOT Bridge Unit.

The moves took place on several Saturday nights. This was the first time ODOT has been involved with what’s known in the industry as a “bridge jump” – essentially requiring the construction of a temporary bridge to “jump” over the existing one.

The crossing of U.S. 26 required another movement our team rarely uses. The load could not cross over U.S. 26 on Cornelius Pass Road but instead needed to cross over the highway west of the interchange. The carrier built a temporary road across the median, as well as removed and replaced the cable barrier. Rolling slowdowns were used to control traffic on U.S. 26 while this maneuver took place.

“Hundreds of emails flew back and forth and many hours of time were needed to get this one finalized,” said ODOT Over-dimension Permit Coordinator Charlie Hutto. “And the move was completed safely and efficiently, with the carrier following the provisions of their permit. Definitely a success for the shipper, carrier as well as ODOT and our local partners.”

The first effort took under seven hours. Omega Morgan began setting up the temporary bridge at 10 p.m., moved the load over it about 1:30 a.m., and had the temporary bridge removed by 5 a.m. “Omega Morgan has been very nice to work with every time we have a shoot with them,” ODOT Videographer Julie Murray said. “For this project, we had to keep social distancing in mind and watch the work from farther away.”