Old Willapa River Bridge to rest in pieces starting this week

Drivers crossing the Willapa River on State Route 6 will soon bear witness to a piece of history, as crews begin laying the original, 85-year-old structure to rest this week. 

This week, daytime drivers can expect intermittent delays of up to 20 minutes while crews working with the Washington State Department of Transportation dismantle the old bridge from the top down. One-lane traffic has been using the new SR 6 Willapa River Bridge since April 30.

Removing the steel superstructure requires two large cranes working in tandem: One crane will hold the superstructure steady while crews cut it into manageable sections, while the second will swing the cut sections over SR 6 and onto a flatbed truck. The steel will then be hauled to a location where it can be safely dismantled. 

Once the superstructure is removed, crews will demolish the concrete-and-steel piers. Demolition is expected to be complete in late June. 

While some workers dismantle the old bridge, their colleagues continue to reconstruct SR 6. Contractor Rotschy Inc. is scheduled to finish paving the highway and open both lanes on the new bridge in mid-June. All construction is expected to be complete in July, although crews will return in October to plant additional landscaping, causing possible shoulder and lane closures. 

The new, 36-foot-wide Willapa River 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 $6.3 million 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 Lewis counties.

New SR 6 Willapa River Bridge in Pacific County opens to traffic April 30th

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.

December 2013 - Pouring concrete for the new bridge deck. Six weeks after setting girders, crews complete the rebar framework for the new bridge deck and start pouring concrete.
December 2013 – Pouring concrete for the new bridge deck.
Six weeks after setting girders, crews complete the rebar framework for the new bridge deck and start pouring concrete.

Around-the-clock single-lane traffic on the SR 6 Willapa River Bridge

MENLO – Drivers on State Route 6 at the Willapa River Bridge will encounter 10 weeks of around-the-clock single-lane traffic beginning this week. Drivers can expect five-minute delays while an automated signal alternates traffic across the bridge.

Reducing SR 6 to a single lane allows crews working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to rebuild the highway so it meets up with a newly constructed bridge just 12 feet southwest of the existing one.

Crews plan to shift single-lane traffic to the new bridge in late March and then start demolishing the existing, 85-year-old steel-truss bridge.

This work is part of WSDOT’s project to replace the SR 6 Willapa River Bridge with a wider, more modern structure. The project is expected to be complete this summer.

Stay informed of traffic impacts by visiting WSDOT’s travel alerts and construction update web pages, and WSDOT’s Vancouver-based Twitter account.

December 2013 - Pouring concrete for the new bridge deck. Six weeks after setting girders, crews complete the rebar framework for the new bridge deck and start pouring concrete.
December 2013 – Pouring concrete for the new bridge deck.
Six weeks after setting girders, crews complete the rebar framework for the new bridge deck and start pouring concrete.

Pacific County Update on Thursday Storm

South Bend, Washington – The Pacific County Emergency Management Agency (PCEMA) office was advised by the National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland that the Willapa River will exceed flood stage at approximately 7:00 p.m. and is forecasted to crest at 22’ around 10:00 p.m. this evening.
 
Heckard Road is currently closed due to water over the road.  Residents are cautioned to watch for water over roadways and other road closures through the night.  Please observe all road closures and refrain from driving through flood waters. 
 
The NWS has issued the following for the south Washington coast: 
 
·         A flood warning is in effect through Friday morning
·         A high wind warning remains in effect until midnight tonight
·         A high surf advisory remains in effect until 4:00 a.m. Friday
·         A coastal flood advisory for tidal overflow remains in effect until 6:00 p.m. this evening
 
For the most up to date weather information from the NWS please visit http://www.weather.gov/portland.  This page brings up all advisories, watches, and warnings for the southwest Washington area.