Sellwood Bridge reopens early

The Sellwood Bridge in Southwest Portland. Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)
The Sellwood Bridge in Southwest Portland. Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The temporary Sellwood Bridge has reopened two days ahead of schedule since being closed over the weekend for construction.

The Southwest Portland bridge, which spans the Willamette River, reopened to traffic at 7 a.m. Tuesday. It had been schedule to remain closed through 5 a.m. Thursday. It had been closed since 12 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.

Multnomah County reported that the closure was to allow crews to install steel soldier piles across traffic lanes on the west end of the bridge that will support the walls of the two-level interchange where the bridge connects with Highway 43. Since midnight Friday, a contractor worked around the clock to drill shafts for the soldier piles to be installed, and crews encountered no major obstacles, allowing for the reopening of the bridge earlier than expected.

The project to replace the aging 88-year-old bridge and Highway 43 interchange began in December 2011. In January 2013, a temporary detour bridge was put in place just north of the old bridge. The temporary bridge will be used through the fall of 2015, when construction of the new bridge on the current alignment of the old one is expected to be complete.

The total cost to replace the bridge and renovate the interchange has been estimated at $307 million.

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