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OTIA III Current News
Reusable I-5 bridge beams live on in projects across Oregon
Cranes salvaged I-5 Willamette River Bridge beams
Cranes salvaged I-5 Willamette River Bridge beams
Need tickets to a sold-out concert? Check Craigslist. Looking for a new apartment? Check Craigslist. In the market for bridge beams 93 to 115 feet long? You probably won’t find them on Craigslist, but you could through the state-agency equivalent: an interoffice memo. When ODOT realized it had more than 200 concrete and steel beams available for reuse, the agency reached out to department managers, local liaisons and groups such as the Association of Oregon Counties and the League of Oregon Cities. It offered the salvaged beams for purchase at a minimal price, and more than nine respondents indicated interest. 

Sandy River Bridge team welcomes the FHWA
Wendell Snook shows FHWA Administrator Ditzler the project
Wendell Snook shows FHWA Administrator Ditzler the project
Every day thousands of cars and trucks travel on Interstate 84 – it's a vital route for the transportation of goods and services in Oregon. On a cold and windy December day, with traffic whizzing by only feet away, ODOT gave representatives from the Federal Highway Administration a tour of the I-84 Sandy River Bridge project site.

Sandy River bridge inspire Oregon's future construction workforce
Apprenticeship tours
Future trade workers visit the Sandy River bridges to observe construction firsthand.
Replacing the Interstate 84 bridges over the Sandy River in Troutdale is an opportunity for the Oregon Department of Transportation to educate Oregon's future construction workforce by providing site tours for apprenticeship programs. 
Apprenticeship tours… 

Sandy River bridge on track, in more ways than one
Gantry cranes move beams into place without a work bridge.
Gantry cranes move beams into place without a work bridge.
More or less turning standard construction procedure on its head, the project team replacing the Sandy River bridges is setting the beams from the top down instead of the usual bottom-up method. Prime contractor Hamilton Construction's new $1.2 million gantry crane can hook, lift and place steel beams up to 167 feet long and weighing up to 192,000 pounds. By setting the beams from the air, the project team keeps traffic moving on the detour bridge, adheres to the logistics and environmental timetable and, most important, avoids the need for a work bridge during high-water season. Read more about how the specialized crane, constructed on-site for the Sandy River bridges, is perfect for this project. 

Cutthroat trout get a step-up
Fish ladder provides access to Augusta Creek.
Fish ladder provides access to Augusta Creek.
Black-spotted cutthroat trout return to their home waters to spawn, and for some, home is the Willamette River and its tributaries. But until recently, the fish were stopped by a huge culvert that opens six feet above the river, too high for them to jump. Read more about how ODOT and Oregon Fish and Wildlife designed a fish ladder to help the migrating trout along their way as part of construction on the new I-5 Willamette River Bridge.

ODOT shows grade-school guests science in action
ODOT hosts grade-school guests
ODOT hosts grade-school guests
Many studies have shown the benefits of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One of the most effective ways of inspiring children to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics is to give them an up-close look at science in action. Two classes of Veneta Elementary School second graders got that chance with their teachers and parent chaperones when they capped their “day of science” with a visit to the Interstate 5 Willamette River Bridge project, where they stepped behind the orange cones to see how a bridge is built. 

Willamette River Bridge reaches halfway point
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio speaking at the opening ceremony
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio speaking at the opening ceremony
Community gathers to celebrate this project milestone
When work began on the Oregon Department of Transportation’s largest bridge replacement — the $201 million Interstate 5 Willamette River Bridge in Eugene-Springfield — crews anticipated that the first of the project’s two bridges would be complete in October 2011. Because of project innovations and favorable weather, the southbound bridge recently began carrying traffic early, a full two months ahead of schedule. To commemorate the project’s halfway point, community members, elected officials and media gathered on Aug. 18 to admire the completed bridge, both from the work bridge below and the structure’s deck above.
 
Southbound bridge helped revitalize the local economy. 

Sandy River Bridge project leads the way for area improvements
Sandy River Bridge and parks
Visitors to the Sandy River will have better access to surrounding areas
When the Oregon Department of Transportation began construction in 2010 to replace the eastbound and westbound Interstate 84 bridges over the Sandy River, the agency also saw the opportunity to improve the surrounding area. In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, the three agencies together saw a way to improve not only the recreationists’ access to the river, via the highway, but their enjoyment of it, too.

Cultural landmarks will capture history, connect communities
People of all ages gather to view models of the proposed enhancements
The gold-leaf statue of the Oregon Pioneer glimmering atop the Capitol building transports history buffs and students alike to the era of the Oregon Trail and the state’s first European settlers. In the not too distant future, artistic elements will commemorate a different group of Oregonians at another significant site.Read more about the five proposals for design enhancements that will grace the Interstate 5 Willamette River Bridge and reflect the legacy of the Kalapuya tribe, the first inhabitants of the Willamette Valley.

New life for the I-5 Willamette River Bridge
A blue heron rests near the I-5 Willamette River Bridge.
A blue heron rests near the I-5 Willamette River Bridge.
The new I-5 Willamette River Bridge will benefit more than just travelers through Eugene and Springfield. Through conscientious construction and restorative efforts, local animals and native plants surrounding the structure will also see positive upgrades to their natural habitats. Read more about what ODOT is doing to ensure the Willamette River Bridge will enhance the quality of life for everyone in the area, from residents to creatures. 

Photo story: historic Willamette River Bridge
Original Willamette River Bridge halfway built
Original Willamette River Bridge halfway built
As construction continues on the new Willamette River Bridge, take a trip down memory lane to remember the original structure and how its construction helped pave the way for Oregon’s interstate future.

Transportation time travelers
A plaque will mark the McKay Creek Bridge time capsule
A plaque will mark the McKay Creek Bridge time capsule
According to the students at McKay Creek Elementary School in Pendleton, ODOT's future transportation infrastructure will need to accommodate flying cars and transporters. These were among the many visions for 2060 that the students will entrust to the time capsule that will be sealed in the newly built McKay Creek Bridge on U.S. 395. Read more about the Nov. 4 dedication ceremony for the bridge, where the students learned more about the types of jobs and skills needed to maintain the state’s highway system.

Insects: They're what's for dinner
ODOT saved bat habitat in the new Curtis Creek bridge design
ODOT saved bat habitat in the new Curtis Creek bridge design
By replacing the Curtis Creek and Oakhill bridges near Eugene, ODOT and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are sustaining an existing colony of sensitive bat species and potentially creating new ones. Read more about the techniques ODOT used to preserve and possibly create bridge habitats for bats.

Building a foundation for change: CS3 blends into agency culture
A sidewalk restoration project in Maupin utilized ODOT's CS3 approach.
A sidewalk restoration project in Maupin utilized ODOT's CS3
From planning manuals to design strategies, the philosophies behind ODOT’s Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions (CS3) are apparent throughout ODOT. Most recently, the Practical Design Handbook follows through on these guidelines with its emphasis on safety, corridor context, optimizing the system, public support and efficient cost. Agency stakeholders comment on the CS3 approach and illustrate ways they’ve kept these ideals at the helm of project work. Read more about how this structured approach has become a fundamental part of the agency’s culture.

Building memories from the river up
Retired ODOT surveyor Warren Neer demonstrates the use of a vintage transit.
Retired ODOT surveyor Warren Neer and his vintage transit.
Nearly 50 years ago, Warren Neer worked as a surveyor on the original Interstate 5 Willamette River Bridge. From taking meticulous measurements and calculations to clearing brush with machetes, Neer and his fellow bridge crew members scoped out the scene for one of the most significant bridges in Oregon transportation. Read more about his extensive ODOT career, including the tools he used and the friendships he built.

Archived news briefs
To read archived articles and stories about the OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program, click here.