CHEHALIS – Early morning drivers traveling northbound Interstate 5 through Chehalis should plan for delays this Sunday, as crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation close a small section of highway to survey the damaged Chamber Way bridge.
Crews will close northbound I-5 between 3 and 8 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 6, when interstate traffic is light. Chamber Way will be closed to through traffic while I-5 drivers use the on- and off-ramps to detour around the closure. Drivers exiting I-5 will be able to make right turns off the ramps.
Over the years, the Chamber Way bridge over I-5 has been struck repeatedly by vehicles with loads taller than the legal limit of 14 feet. The girder crews are surveying Sunday has taken the brunt of the damage.
On Sept. 7, 2012, it was significantly damaged when it was struck by a log truck. As a precaution, WSDOT shifted Chamber Way traffic slightly to the north to take some weight off the damaged girder.
“Though the bridge is safe, it’s important we get this girder replaced to ensure the bridge continues to be stable, with a full lifespan,” said WSDOT project engineer Chris Tams. “It’s 54 years old, and should last for about another 50 years.”
This Sunday, crews will take dozens of survey measurements that WSDOT engineers will use to make repairs to the damaged bridge later this summer.
The company that struck the girder, Northwest Log Marketing Inc. of Chehalis, is liable for the cost of repairs. Preliminary estimates put the cost at approximately $700,000.