Mechanical problems close southbound I-5 bridge

Interstate 5 bridge may not reopen until Wednesday morning commute

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Mechanical problems closed the southbound lanes of the Interstate 5 Bridge Tuesday night, blocking the freeway for hours. An official with the Oregon Department of Transportation said Tuesday night that he expects the bridge will be open before Wednesday’s morning commute.

Both spans of the bridge lifted for river traffic at 8:16 p.m., but the southbound span failed to come back down completely. ODOT workers determined that a roller broke, agency spokesman Don Hamilton said.

The rollers help guide the lift span up and down.

The bridge malfunction caused traffic to back up on southbound I-5 past Mill Plain Boulevard. Washington State Patrol directed southbound traffic to Interstate 205.

“This is one of the issues you deal with, with a bridge this old,” Hamilton said. The weather is making repairs more difficult, he added.

“It’s a nasty cold night and they’re working in high winds,” Hamilton said.

In the coming weeks, the southbound bridge will have to be raised and lowered more slowly until the problem is completely fixed, Hamilton said.

A similar I-5 Bridge malfunction occurred on the evening of November 22.