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News / Clark County News

Crews repair I-5 Bridge cable that broke, fell onto south span

Cause of failure not known

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: November 18, 2022, 5:07pm

A 275-foot, 2-inch-thick cable fell from a tower onto the sidewalk of the southbound span of the Interstate 5 Bridge Thursday afternoon. There were no injuries or property damage.

Crews fixed the cable before 6 p.m., roughly three hours after it fell. Traffic was not impacted except for a brief lift of the southbound span, which was required to fix the cable.

The cable connected the towers of the bridge. It is uncertain how the cable dislodged, although it is unlikely to be weather-related, said Don Hamilton of the Oregon Department of Transportation, which operates and maintains the drawbridge.

The twin spans, which are 64 and 105 years old, cost $1.2 million to maintain each year. Both structures are rated in fair condition, but are at risk of falling into poor condition within the next three years.

Poor condition means a bridge’s deck, superstructure, substructure or culverts scored a four or below on the National Bridge Inventory scale of one to nine, which does not necessarily mean the span is unsafe, but that it must be monitored, inspected and maintained. As of 2021, 401 bridges in Washington were in poor condition.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff writer