MENLO – As long as dry weather forecast in Pacific County holds, travelers on State Route 6 will start using the new, wider Willapa River Bridge by Wednesday, April 30.
Washington State Department of Transportation contractor Rotschy Inc. plans to pave SR 6 early this week and shift traffic by Wednesday afternoon. Around-the-clock single-lane traffic and minor delays will continue into June.
Drivers have been watching the new Willapa River Bridge take shape since construction began last summer. The 36-foot-wide concrete bridge is being built just 12 feet away from the existing, 85-year-old bridge. It’s a narrow steel-truss structure built when Herbert Hoover was President.
Even though traffic will start using the new bridge April 30, crews still have a lot of work ahead of them. This spring and summer, they’ll continue realigning SR 6 to connect with the new bridge, demolish the old structure and complete a long list of tasks to clean up and restore the work zone.
Crews are expected to remove the old bridge in mid-May, complete construction and some landscaping work in June, and finish the $6.3 million, gas-tax funded project by early July. A small crew will return in October to plant additional landscaping, which may require intermittent shoulder and lane closures.
The new 36-foot-wide bridge will better meet the needs of today’s drivers and help improve traffic flow on this key connection between Interstate 5 and coastal communities.
The SR 6 Willapa River Bridge Replacement project is funded by the 2005 gas tax and other state highway-improvement funds. It’s one of five WSDOT bridge replacement projects currently underway in Pacific and west Lewis counties.