>Traffic in and out of town will slow down as repair crews begin to work on the bridge over the Crooked River with flaggers controlling traffic, reducing speed and limiting traffic to one lane
Terry Wilson was busy this morning, slowing traffic across the Crooked River Bridge and allowing only one lane at a time to cross. Motorists can expect flaggers to be on the job during regular working hours through the next two weeks as ODOT bridge repair crews work on cracks found by inspectors throughout the longitudinal reinforced concrete girders.
   August 21, 2001 -- Work has begun on the Crooked River Bridge and on a detour around the Coles Bridge on Hwy 26 near John Day.
   Oregon Department of Transportation crews began repairing the Prineville bridge yesterday. The Klamath Falls bridge crew expects to take two weeks to complete the fix. During that time, while the crews are at work, the bridge will be open to one way traffic. Speeds will also be reduced and flaggers will control traffic.
   Repairs are estimated to cost between $200,000 and $250,000. Crews will use a hydra-platform to access the bridge's girders, allowing them to inject epoxy in the concrete girders. The repair is the first part of the fix and strengthening work will follow.
   Once the repair is completed, load limits on the bridge are expected to be reduced to 80,000 pounds maximum gross weight. County Roadmaster Norm Thompson has said that the restriction won't have much impact on the use of the bridge.
   A few weeks ago, following inspections of the bridge, cracks throughout the longitudinal reinforced concrete girders were noted. The state bridge engineer said at the time that the cracks are not now a safety issue but could cause closure of the bridge if they grow in length.
   The cracks have been monitored by ODOT engineers for some time and are apparently approaching the size when some action should take place. The size of the cracks, the ODOT engineer warned, could jeopardize the load carrying capacity of the structure, reducing the concrete contribution to shear strength. There is adequate reinforcement, the engineers believe, to prevent sudden failure but the remaining fatigue of the steel is unknown.
   Cracks in the Coles Bridge also prompted ODOT to restrict the structure to one lane and limit loads to 28,000 pounds earlier this month. The new single lane detour being constructed by ODOT maintenance crews will not have any special weight restrictions.
   The new detour over the John Day River will eliminate the existing detour of 113 miles and keep trucks from having to go through downtown Mt. Vernon. ODOT expects to award a contract for the repair of the Coles Bridge this week and repair work will begin soon after. Flaggers will shift traffic over the detour 24-hours a day until repairs to the Cole Bridge are completed.
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