Prime contractor Carter and Company of Salem maintained a steady pace over the winter months on the $5.9 million Applegate River Bridge replacement project.
According to ODOT Project Manager Ted Paselk, construction workers have been focused on tying steel to the concrete beams. Concrete pours are next on the construction schedule if the weather holds.
“If there’s seven days of good weather, Carter and Company will be out there pouring concrete,” said Paselk. “Should the weather turn cold, they will wait since the contractor doesn’t want to have to heat a freshly poured deck.”
If the current schedule holds, traffic may be on the new bridge, which is located eight miles west of Grants Pass on the Redwood Highway (U.S. 199), as early as May.
The detour structure kept traffic moving during demolition of the 58-year-old bridge and as construction began on its replacement.
“The remainder of the work should go fairly quickly once the new bridge opens to traffic and Carter and Company begins dismantling the temporary bridge,” said Paselk. “Once we hit the in-water work period in mid-June, the rest of the temporary structure can be pulled out of the river bed.”
When the existing bridge was built in 1955, about 2,000 vehicles crossed the 547-foot span daily. By 2011, the number of vehicles had increased to 10,300 per day. The old bridge’s narrow 30-foot roadway and bridge rails did not meet today’s safety standards, which enforced the need for a replacement project.
“The Applegate River Bridge is a vital connection between Interstate 5, the Illinois Valley, northern California and the Oregon coast” said Paselk. “This project ensures that transportation resource will continue to serve for generations to come.”
Construction on the new Applegate River Bridge began in spring 2013. Motorists had to contend with traffic delays as fill materials were trucked in and compacted for the temporary bridge approaches and supports. Traffic shifted over to the temporary structure in August 2012.
Nearly 50 feet wide, the Applegate River Bridge replacement project uses pre-stressed concrete beams. The new bridge will feature two 12-foot travel lanes as well as two 10-foot shoulders.
“The new bridge railings will meet today’s safety standards and, unlike the old structure that had six supports in the river channel, the new bridge will only have two,” said ODOT Lead Bridge Engineer Bob Grubbs.
According to Grubbs, the new bridge will also be slightly wider on the west end to accommodate a new turn lane at Riverbanks Road.