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Sellwood Bridge detour ramps grow; new bridge starts

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - On October 10th, a second section of pre-cast bridge deck section was swung over the Sellwood Bridge, ready to be placed on the support beams of the new east-side on-ramp to the temporary Sellwood Bridge.Just beyond the north side of the Sellwood Bridge, construction workers have been busy building what looks like a “bridge to nowhere”.

But, when the center span of the old Sellwood Bridge is carefully winched 40 feet north onto the new piers in January, it should mate perfectly with the approach ramps being constructed for it, as it becomes the “temporary” Sellwood Bridge, while construction of the new bridge gets underway just to its south.

Consequently, for the past month, other contractors were pile-driving supports for what will become the foundation of two “work bridges” to permit the construction of the brand new replacement Sellwood Bridge.

The in-water construction work for both construction teams ended on October 15th for the season, as required to protect the fish in the Willamette River.

However, “Work on the condominiums on either side of the bridge continues,” Multnomah County’s project spokesman Mike Pullen told THE BEE.

“At Riverplace, they’ve removed the one townhouse and created a new end unit. The County purchased that unit, and it will remain unoccupied during construction. It will be sold when the new bridge has been completed.”

And, contractors have been building a new gated entrance for Sellwood Harbor Condos, located at the south side of their development. “When this is completed, the area on the north side of the bridge can be dedicated to building the east-end detour bridge on-ramp.”

If work continues as currently scheduled, Pullen said the Sellwood Bridge will close on Thursday, January 10, to allow the main deck to be slowly winched northward to rest on the new temporary piers now in the river.

“The move is expected to take a week,” he said, “hopefully less.” For project information, go online: HYPERLINK "http://www.sellwoodbridge.org/" www.sellwoodbridge.org