Astoria bridge restoration work to take until 2021; some rivets corroded to half original size


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ASTORIA, Oregon — It's taking a little longer than planned for the first phase of a project to paint and repair the Columbia River bridge at Astoria.

Work on painting and replacing some steel parts began in 2009. Workers have found some rivets that were less than half their original size because of corrosion and the bridge's constant movement, the Daily Astorian reported ( ).

The initial phase was originally planned to wrap up in 2012, but it will continue into next summer.

As of September, the project has cost $17.7 million and will likely end at close to $21.8 million — money raised by gasoline taxes and the federal highway trust fund.

Two other phases involving trusses and supports will continue to 2021. Cost estimates for the next two phases of work are not yet available.

The bridge is 4.2 miles long and was completed in 1966 as the last section of a road from Canada to Mexico. It sits above the mouth of the river, a major shipping channel and is used by 7,200 vehicles a day. It replaced ferry service that was at the mercy of the region's fierce storms.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has made a number of adjustments in how it handles the work, restricting times for blasting off paint and doing other noisy work so that early mornings and late evenings are peaceful.

"That noise has turned out to be nowhere near as obtrusive as it was thought it could be," said Don West, manager at high-end Cannery Pier Hotel right next to the bridge.

To fight the noise, the hotel put white noise machines in the rooms near the bridge end of building, West said, "but I'm not sure how often they're getting used."

Information from: The Daily Astorian,

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