Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Reopening the Danekas Bridge near Ritzville vital to local and regional traffic

By Beth Bousley

When an oversized load struck the Danekas Bridge overpass on I-90 near Ritzville on July 10, it had far-ranging effects. The overpass at the Tokio interchange is an important stretch for both local travelers and cross-state I-90 traffic.
Left: A look at the damage caused to the Danekas Bridge overpass when an oversized truck struck it earlier this year.
Right: Crews work through the night to construction a new overpass span after demolishing the damaged overpass.

It's also a vital link for the local farming community, who use the bridge to haul their harvest to the local grain elevator.

It was a big deal.

That's why we were so excited to reopen the bridge on Monday night, Oct. 29, more than a week ahead of schedule.

Expediting the fix
When the oversized vehicle struck the bridge, it damaged the entire eastbound span, forcing us to limit traffic to just one lane of alternating traffic on the overpass. Because the bridge is a key link for both local and farming traffic as well as regional travel, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an emergency proclamation to qualify for federal funds for expedited repairs, estimated to cost more than $500,000.

Contractor N.A. Degerstrom of Spokane was awarded the contract and work began on Oct. 1. The biggest and most visible part of the job was demolishing the bridge span and rebuilding it. Crews also had to reinstall the railing and pave the bridge deck.
Demolition of the damaged bridge span was completed in 36 hours to limit disruption to traffic on I-90. The repairs required three closures of I-90 through this area. Two were 36-hour closures to demolish the bridge and replace the span. The third eight-hour closure was to remove materials to speed up the early re-opening of the overpass.

Just 29 days later, the bridge reopened and the job came in on budget and a week earlier than scheduled. Our photo album has some great images that chronicle the work.

Know before you go
While we're pursuing reimbursement costs from the freight hauler that hit the bridge, we would prefer not to have had to fix it at all.
Left: New striping is laid down on the new Danekas Bridge overpass. Right: The new Danekas Bridge
overpass was constructed and opened a week earlier than scheduled, and on budget.

Please remember that by law, it's up to the operator to know their vehicle height as well as bridge heights along their route. Our online bridge vertical clearance trip planner tool provides a way to map a route to be sure you're safe and legal to reach your destination.

We extend a big thanks to N.A. Degerstrom for their fantastic work on this important job. Also thanks to Oldcastle Infrastructure of Spokane which prioritized fabrication and delivery of the slab girders in six weeks (normally this takes 12 weeks from order to delivery). Without that effort amongst a busy workload, we wouldn't have been able to get this done before winter. And finally a tip of the cap to the travelers who had to adjust their plans during I-90 closures to get this work done. It was a great team effort and we're excited to have this project complete and traffic restored.