Susbauer Road to close next week

CLOSURE --Cornelius connector shut down until fall; alternate route is Cornelius-Schefflin Road

A popular route between Cornelius and Sunset Highway will close next week due to a bridge replacement, Washington County officials say. Susbauer Road, a connector between Baseline Street and Zion Church Road, will shut down for four months starting July 5 while the bridge over Council Creek is dismantled and a new one is built.

The current bridge is 'running out of life,' says Al Girard, the county's project manager. 'It's too narrow, substandard, and the supports underneath the bridge are decaying.'

Built in 1966, the timber bridge has become 'functionally obsolete' as traffic on the road has increased, says Joe Younkins, principal engineer for the project. The bridge's deterioration results from 40 years of wear as well as a weak structural base due to the area's silt soil. According to Younkins, about 8,500 cars and 950 trucks cross the bridge daily.

Steel piles driven 75 feet into the ground will ensure greater stability for the replacement bridge, which will be made of concrete. Aside from structural strength, the new bridge will be more convenient to drive, pedal, or walk across.

With two 12-foot vehicle lanes and two six-foot bicycle lanes, the bridge will be 36 feet wide, not including sidewalks. By comparison, the current bridge is only 22 feet wide.

The joint project between Washington County and the City of Cornelius will cost $2.4 million. Funding will be provided by the state as part of the Oregon Transportation Improvement Act's bridge program. Construction will be conducted by 2KG Contractors, Inc., based in Milwaukie.