'Bridgemageddon' goes off without a hitch

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Updated: July 19, 2011, 1:18 PM

 
Video

Bridge Lift for Barge

This video shows the Interstate 5 bridge lift for The Crowley Barge Co. barge, which is later shown. The barge is led and followed by the two tug boats "Willamette and Deschutes." (Playback is a time-lapse)

This video shows the Interstate 5 bridge lift for The Crowley Barge Co. barge, which is later shown. The barge is led and followed by the two tug boats "Willamette and Deschutes." (Playback is a time-lapse)

A much-ballyhooed bridge lift was completed much faster than forecast this afternoon, with traffic flowing in half the time originally forecast.

The bridge was lifted to allow passage of additional components of an oil drilling equipment manufactured by Thompson Metal Fab at the site of the former Kaiser Shipyards. The equipment is en route to Alaska.

An earlier shipment of larger parts of the drilling equipment caused extensive delays last week, so today's lift was accompanied by warnings of 35-minute delays and streaming video coverage from at least one TV news helicopter.

Reality was less dramatic.

Traffic stopped at 12:40 p.m., and the bridge opened two minutes later. At 12:47 p.m., the first tugboat, "Ft. Thompson," passed through. The Crowley Barge Co. barge, tended by the tugs "Willamette and Deschutes," passed through at 12:48 p.m.

The lift span started going down a minute later, and traffic was flowing in the northbound lanes at 12:52 p.m., and in the southbound lanes at 12:53 p.m.