WOODLAND – It’s 1990. The Hubble Telescope is launched into space, Nelson Mandela is freed from prison and “The Simpsons” premiers on Fox-TV. A less interesting but still important event that year: the Washington State Department of Transportation paints the Interstate 5 North Fork Lewis River bridges near Woodland.
Fast-forward 23 years and WSDOT is back on the bridges, ready to paint and preserve them for the decades ahead.
Starting Oct. 28, drivers can expect intermittent lane closures on both directions of I-5 near the bridges. Contractor Geronimo Painting Company can close one lane of I-5 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and two lanes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Crews will install a system of cables and tarps around the bridge to keep paint flakes, rust and other debris from falling into the Lewis River. They will then sandblast the steel supports above and below the roadway, apply primer to the bare steel and paint it with several coats of specialty bridge paint, which is designed to hold up under the elements.
The bridge will be repainted in “Cascade Green,” one of WSDOT’s standard bridge colors (pdf 115 kb) and the same color it is today.
Painting work is weather-dependent. WSDOT’s contractor plans to work until weather is consistently wet, and then put painting on hold until conditions improve next spring.
The I-5 North Fork Lewis River bridges were built in 1940 (southbound) and 1968 (northbound). They carry 65,000 vehicles per day and are inspected every other year.
The $12 million I-5, North Fork Lewis River Bridge painting project is funded through state highway improvement dollars. The project is expected to be complete in fall 2016.