Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Help us plan for the six-day closure of the Lewis and Clark Bridge in 2023

By Kelly Hanahan

In 2023 the Lewis and Clark Bridge (also known as the Rainier Bridge) on State Route 433 between Longview, Washington and Rainier, Oregon will fully close for six days for repairs and preservation work.

Crews will replace two bridge expansion joints, one joint on the north end of the bridge and one on the south and the full closure is needed to safely conduct this work.

We know a full bridge closure is disruptive, especially in an area without other nearby routes across the Columbia River. So, before we close the bridge, we want to hear from those who may be affected most by this work to ask a few questions about how you travel through this area. Your answers will help us determine how to best minimize travel effects as we plan for the closure.

Please fill out the survey and share your thoughts, comments and questions with us by Aug. 15 at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCBridge

What's happening

Steel expansion joints allow the bridge to expand and contract with daily temperature variations. These two expansion joints have deteriorated and need to be replaced.

When considering the construction options, we evaluated the safety of the traveling public and construction crews; the overall traffic effect to businesses, freight and the general public; and the quality and lifespan of the repair.

The Lewis and Clark bridge between Washington and Oregon on SR 433 will close for six days in 2023.

We determined a full bridge closure of up to six days was the best strategy to deliver this critical preservation work quickly and safely.

A full six-day closure of the bridge allows the concrete next to the new expansion joints to cure fully, ensuring a high-quality repair. This will reduce the likelihood of the bridge needing unscheduled, emergency closures and repairs in the future.

During the closure, all traffic crossing the Columbia River will detour to either the Astoria-Megler Bridge between Astoria, Oregon and Megler, Washington (south of Illwaco and Long Beach), or the Interstate 5 Bridge between Vancouver and Portland.

While construction won't happen until 2023, we are proactively planning to reduce effects to business, commuters and freight haulers as much as possible.

Drivers should start planning now for the 6-day closure of the Lewis and Clark Bridge coming in 2023.

What to expect

While the heaviest effects to drivers will occur during the full closure of the bridge, people should prepare for up two months of traffic disruption.

During construction, expect longer delays and congestion whether you commute over the bridge or travel in the project area. The work zone will have reduced speed limits for the safety of drivers and the construction crew. Pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair/motorized scooter users and emergency vehicles will have access across the bridge during the full closure.

There are no great detours for the SR 433 bridge closure, but here’s a look at what drivers can do.

Throughout the entirety of the project – the times before and after the full closure – there will be nighttime, single-lane closures in place. Drivers will take turns moving through the single lane, as the other direction waits. (See graphic to the right.) Occasional daytime single-lane closures may be needed but will be minimal to reduce possible congestion throughout the region.

Bike and pedestrian travel

People walking, biking or rolling can cross the bridge during the full closure. Flaggers will guide those on foot, on bike or using a wheelchair/motorized scooter across the bridge to ensure safety in the work zone.

Ferry service

During the full bridge closure, the Wahkiakum County Ferry between Cathlamet, Washington and Westport, Oregon will run twice an hour all day, and be free of charge for travelers bypassing/detouring around the bridge closure. Find more information about the Wahkiakum County Ferry here.

Project timeline

This project is scheduled to go out for competitive bidding in spring 2023 with construction scheduled for summer. Once a contractor is selected, we will know the construction schedule and bridge closure dates and will share this information well in advance of construction beginning.

A look at what the work zone will be like for the SR 433 bridge closure

Get updates and stay informed

Following the online bridge survey, we will hold an in-person open house from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23 at the Cowlitz County Events Center (1900 7th Ave. Longview, WA 98632). Come learn more about the bridge repair and closure, meet the project team and see the results of the survey.

As construction approaches, we will continue to provide project updates and hold broad community conversations to help keep everyone informed while we work to make this project as successful and smooth as possible. To receive email/text updates on this project and projects in the surrounding area, please visit: public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new