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US 26: Bridge Creek Bridge Project (Mitchell)
Latest News

Beginning the week of June 25, 2012 the west access bridge into Mitchell will be closed and  demolition will begin.  The bridge will be closed until the end of August.  Please use caution and stay clear of the construction zone.

For the most current construction news please visit the Region 4 (Central Oregon) Newsroom.  For the most current traffic conditions in the project area, visit TripCheck.com.

Project Information
Bridge Creek Bridge on the west end of Mitchell, Oregon along US 26.
Bridge Creek Bridge on the west end
of Mitchell, Oregon.

Bridge Creek Bridge 07492 is located at the junction of US 26 (Milepost 66.2) and West Main Street in Mitchell, Oregon
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Vicinity Map

Why this project is needed
Keeping roads and bridges in good condition and providing for safe travel are critical parts of the mission for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
The existing Bridge Creek Bridge has deck and other structural deficiencies: the bridge deck is worn and delaminated, there are cracks in the superstructure beams, and there are no guardrails on the ends of the bridge.  The last inspection of this bridge was done in November 2008 and it currently has a sufficiency rating of 50.5 (out of a possible score of 100).  There are currently no load restrictions on the bridge.
The bridge is 90 feet long, 28 feet wide, and was built in 1953. The existing roadway width on the bridge is 26 feet.  Current standards require a minimum width of 30 feet.
The structure has two bridge drains which allow storm water to flow under the deck and into Bridge Creek.  Current standards require that storm water be directed to a water quality facility to capture pollutants.

What is being proposed
A number of alternatives were analyzed including: repairing the existing bridge; replacing the bridge in the same location; and relocating the bridge.  The decision was made to replace the bridge in the same location.
The new bridge will be a minimum of 30 feet wide but could be 36 to 40 feet wide depending on the traffic control and construction techniques.  The new bridge will be built so the support pilings under the bridge are on either side of the active stream channel for Bridge Creek.  This will eliminate any scouring problems around support pilings.
There will not be sidewalks on the new bridge but the new bridge will have shoulders wide enough to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians.  Guard rails and bridge rails will be installed   and the replacement structure will direct storm water from the bridge to a water quality facility.

Traffic control during construction
ODOT, Wheeler County, and the Town of Mitchell are looking at options to maintain access to Main Street in Mitchell during construction.  
The county bridge at the east end of Main Street has some structural deficiencies and currently has a load restriction of 14 tons.  One option is to repair the county bridge so the load restriction can be removed and be used as a detour, allowing the Bridge Creek Bridge to be closed during construction.  The other option is to stage the construction of the Bridge Creek Bridge and allow at least one lane of traffic on the bridge at all times.  Costs will be the major factor in determining which option is selected.

History of the county bridge on the east end of Mitchell
The county bridge on the east end of Main Street is a good example of a reinforced concrete deck girder bridge designed by Conde McCullough.  The bridge has ornamental rail and bush hammered surfaces which is characteristic of McCullough’s work from this era.  Conde McCullough headed the bridge section of the Oregon Department of Transportation (at that time known as the “Oregon State Highway Commission”) from 1919-1935, and is best known for the bridges he designed and built on US 101 along the Oregon Coast. 
The county bridge was part of the state highway system until the highway was moved to the north side of Bridge Creek.  The plans for the bridge were signed by McCullough in 1929.  This bridge is a little more ornate than other bridges built in the same era along this stretch of highway, probably because of its proximity to the Town of Mitchell.  The original bridge has not been altered although in need of repair.  There is a similar bridge that spans Rock Creek located about 30 miles further east on US 26. The old Crooked River Gorge Bridge on US 97 is another example of a McCullough era bridge.

Public Involvement 

A public open house was held on Monday, January 25, 2010 at the Mitchell Community Center.  Seventeen Mitchell residents attended the open house.  There were a number of questions raised during the meeting.  ODOT promised to get back to the community with answers, and those questions and answers are found below.  
Project teams members would like to thank those who took the time to attend the open house, and to those who made the wonderful homemade goodies.

Questions and Answers

Project timeline
 Design    2009/2010 
 Contract bid let   2011
 Construction  2012

ODOT Contacts
Office Phone
Robert Townsend Asst. Project Manager    
(541) 296-2800
Rex Holloway
Community Liaison Rep.
(541) 388-6178