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Interstate Bridge to see recurring lifts, traffic delays the next two weekends

The northbound and southbound lanes of the I-5 bridge will see overnight bridge lifts the next two Friday nights while crews perform annual maintenance.
Credit: AP
FILE--File photo shows the Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington states, near Vancouver, Wash. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Transportation announced that both the northbound and southbound spans of the Interstate Bridge will see maintenance-related overnight bridge lifts on two upcoming Friday nights, potentially causing traffic delays.

This weekend, the northbound and southbound lanes will see recurring lifts from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday.

Next weekend, both lanes will see recurring lifts starting at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, until 5 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.

The lifts should last no more than 20 minutes each time. The two spans will not be raised at the same time and a sidewalk will be open at all times for pedestrians and bicyclists, ODOT said.

ODOT will have detours in place:

  • Southbound traffic can use State Route 14 east to Interstate 205 and the Glenn Jackson Bridge south to Oregon
  • Northbound traffic can use Interstate 84 east to I-205 north over the Glenn Jackson Bridge into Washington

ODOT said the closure is necessary for crews to perform an annual operation to apply fresh coats of oil and grease to the 6.5 miles of the cables that raise and lower the bridge. 

RELATED: Here's what it takes to maintain the decades-old Interstate Bridge

Replacement process

The aging bridge is slated to be replaced, as experts say it would most likely fall apart in the event of a major Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. Its first span was built in 1917 and its second in 1958 to divide northbound and southbound traffic. 

In January 2022, people got their first look at possible designs for replacing the Interstate Bridge. 

The new bridge would be built up to current seismic standards and would also include mass transit, according to the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program website.

RELATED: With local authorities all on board, I-5 bridge replacement heads into federal review

The project is currently in the federal environmental review process, which will take about two years, according to program administrator Greg Johnson. 

The cost of the multibillion dollar project is expected to be evenly split between Washington and Oregon. 

If the project passes the review process, replacement bridge construction could start in late 2025.

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