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Thursday, September 28, 2023
Sept. 28, 2023

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WSDOT temporarily repairs hole on North Fork Lewis River Bridge on northbound I-5

Improvements to span scheduled for summer

By , Columbian staff writer

A 3½-foot hole on northbound Interstate 5’s North Fork Lewis River Bridge has been temporarily patched. The Washington State Department of Transportation completed the work on Monday morning, causing a brief disruption in traffic.

It’s the second highway bridge in Southwest Washington that has required work in the past week; the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview was closed for roughly 12 hours last week for emergency repairs after a fractured floor beam was found during an inspection.

The two are part of a group of bridges in Southwest Washington that require replacement or work, joining the Interstate 5 Bridge, the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge and the Bridge of the Gods.

Improvements for the North Fork Lewis River Bridge and Lewis and Clark Bridge are scheduled for the summer.

An estimated $17.4 million will be spent on the North Fork Lewis River Bridge this summer and next summer for repairs, a polyester concrete overlay, expansion joint modifications and new joint seals.

“There have been many, many repairs and patches put on this bridge,” said Kelly Hanahan, WSDOT assistant communications manager. “(It) sorely needs the deck repair and overlay project that is scheduled for this summer.”

Although weather plays a role in the stress of infrastructure, the structure’s age and use are more important factors, Hanahan added.

The Lewis and Clark Bridge, which carries Highway 433 across the Columbia River to Rainier, Ore., is scheduled to be closed for six days this summer for finger joint repairs, which allow the bridge to expand and contract due to temperature.

During the closure, pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and emergency vehicles will be able to use the bridge, although the nearest crossing for regular traffic will be in Astoria, Ore., or Vancouver.

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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.