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WSDOT: Cleaning of three southwest Washington bridges could affect traffic

It’s not quite spring, but starting Monday, Feb. 3, Washington State Department of Transportation crews will be doing some heavy cleaning on three steel bridges in Cowlitz and Lewis counties.

The State Route 4 Peter Crawford, State Route 433 Lewis and Clark, and the northbound Interstate 5 Cowlitz River bridges will all get a scrubbing over the next two months.

Over time, bridges accumulate various substances that can damage the structure, including dirt, mildew, road spray, chemicals, and bird and animal feces. A regular washing cycle can reduce damage and help improve the efficiency of WSDOT’s rigorous bridge inspection program.

“Cleaning off the grime means we get less rust, paint lasts longer and the bridge stays in better shape overall,” said WSDOT Bridge Supervisor Mike London. “Clean bridges are also easier to inspect, which helps us keep them in good repair and safe for drivers.”

Bridge washing timelines and traffic impacts

SR 4 Peter Crawford Bridge
   • Mondays-Thursdays, Feb. 3-20
• Single-lane closures from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge
   • Mondays-Fridays, Feb. 10-March 20
• Narrow lanes, no over-width loads from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Delays of up to 30 minutes

Northbound I-5 Cowlitz River Bridge
   • Saturdays and Sundays, March 1-16
• Single-lane closures from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The 63-year-old Peter Crawford Bridge carries SR 4 over the Cowlitz River in Kelso. Crews will clean debris from the structure by hand and then use a low pressure, high volume water hose to wash the bridge from top to bottom.

The 84-year-old SR 433 Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview and Rainier, Ore. was recently painted and does not need to be hand-cleaned. WSDOT crews will wash all of the steel elements in and below the bridge deck. The superstructure – the latticed steel above the roadway – will not be washed this year.

Two side-by-side structures carry I-5 over the Cowlitz River in southern Lewis County. This year, crews will wash only the northbound bridge. Like the Peter Crawford Bridge, the 61-year-old northbound I-5 Cowlitz River Bridge must be hand-cleaned before it can be washed.

Through its comprehensive bridge program, WSDOT cares for nearly 3,500 bridges and structures statewide. Crews regularly inspect and perform spot cleaning and repairs, and regular overall cleanings help further protect taxpayers’ investments in our state transportation system.

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