Starting Saturday, the deck of the Sellwood Bridge will be moved ever so slowly to new piers that will turn it into a temporary detour bridge.
"If you love bridges, this is what it's all about," said Kunkle, a foreman with Stayton-based Slayden Construction, which formed a joint venture with Sundt, an Arizona contractor, to tackle the $307.5 million replacement of the Sellwood Bridge. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime project."
The Sellwood Bridge is scheduled to close at 5 a.m. Thursday. Workers will push the structure's steel deck sideways about 60 feet over the weekend. Then they'll reattach the deck to the road, so by the end of next week commuters will be able to drive around the platform where the new bridge will be built.
Business owners on either side of the bridge are pleased the closure is only scheduled for a week. But some are still worried about the bottom line.
Folks who regularly travel the Sellwood Bridge are going to have find a different way to get around for a week.
The bridge, which first opened to traffic in 1925, is getting replaced with a new one and this week crews will be sliding over the existing truss span to create a detour bridge that will be used during construction.
"It's probably one of the longest old bridges that's ever been moved, especially in this unusual way where it moves further from one end to the other," said Mike Pullen with Multnomah County. "We don't know if it's setting a world record."
Work continued Monday at Portland's Sellwood Bridge in advance of its closure and planned move later in the week. The main bridge structure will be shifted over onto new supports to create a temporary detour bridge allowing a new bridge to be built in its old location. Workers shuttle across the Willamette River in a view looking toward the west end of the project.