Troy Foster
   News Editor
   Jefferson County bridges are getting make-overs left and right.
   Currently, the Ford Lane Bridge, which is located on Ford Lane east of Highway 97 and Bear Drive, is being replaced by the Jefferson County Public Works bridge crew.
   The project that began on Oct. 22 is slated to be finished at the end of this month.
   The county has 40 bridges on inventory including two suspension bridges over the Crooked River and Deschutes River located at the Cove, which are also undergoing improvements.
   Jefferson County Public Works Director Mike McHaney said the county has always taken better care of its bridges than in other areas of the state.
   "We're one of the few counties where are overall bridge system is better than our roads," McHaney said. "We've been repairing bridges yearly so we won't have to spend money on them in the future. The bridge crew and public works has been proactive in this."
   This latest bridge make-over will cost an estimated $90,000. The former structure, built in 1955, consisted of wood components. Had it not been slated for repair, a load limit would have had to have been placed on the aging bridge.
   "There was a lot of wood rotting," McHaney said. "The deck had cracks and the main stringers were rotting, too."
   The new bridge is being made from concrete and will have metal guardrails. Seven 61,000-pound concrete slabs were placed over the empty canal last week. It will be 68 feet long and 28 feet wide when completed.
   Since 1994, the county's bridge crew has replaced bridges on Haystack Drive, Belmont Lane, Birch Lane, Boise Land and North Adams Drive. The next bridge scheduled for replacement by the Public Works crew is on North Adams in the intersection with Gumwood at an estimated cost of $45,000.
   There are also more unrelated bridge improvements of note slated for Jefferson County in the near future.
   The Federal Highway Administration has awarded a $1.05 million contract to Advanced American Diving Service of Oregon City to repair the Deschutes River and Crooked River bridges on lake Billy Chinook.
   Bridge closures are scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 19 although traffic delays began this week to allow for cable replacement. Those delays can last up to 30 minutes.
   Delays will substantially impact residents in the Three Rivers area, whose direct access to Madras will be shut off at times.
   Work on these major bridges is expected to be completed in April. American Diving Service will replace the aged bridge decks and cable suspenders on both major bridges.
   All problems, concerns and questions regarding these improvement projects can be directed toward Project Engineer Scott Blower at 546-6962.
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