LONGVIEW – The finish line is in sight for drivers and construction workers on State Route 433. This morning crews kicked off the third and final season of painting on the mile-long Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview and Rainier, Ore.
Crews returned to the bridge this morning, March 18, to inspect cable rigging and begin installing work platforms over the roadway. Drivers will encounter narrow lanes and up to 10-minute delays for the next eight months, while crews finish painting the bridge’s steel superstructure.
For the past two years, motorists crossing the bridge patiently navigated traffic cones, narrowed lanes and tent-like containment platforms. It allowed crews to strip flaking paint and rust from the metal framework over the roadway. They also applied layers of protective paint to the bridge’s 84-year-old steel beams.
The protective coating protects the steel from the elements and preserves the structural integrity of this critical interstate connection.
Progress is clear. Fresh gray paint on the bridge’s center and southern sections contrasts sharply with the faded, rust-stained northern side, where crews will focus their efforts this spring and summer.
The work is more than two-thirds complete, and contractor crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation plan to wrap up painting by the end of 2013.
The $40 million preservation project is possible with $12.3 million in federal funding through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It is the third and final contract in a series of projects to restore and preserve the historic Lewis and Clark Bridge. The bridge spans the Columbia River and carries 21,000 vehicles a day.