Abbi Russell, WSDOT communications, 360-905-2058
CHEHALIS – Repairs to the 13th Street bridge will close northbound Interstate 5 overnight Friday and Saturday, Jan. 10 and 11.
All lanes of northbound I-5 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. Drivers will be routed around the closure using the 13th Street off- and on-ramps.
During the closure, Washington State Department of Transportation bridge maintenance crews will repair damage caused when an oversize load struck the bridge Dec. 31, 2013. The strike damaged three of the bridge’s six girders, breaking concrete and snapping steel tension cables. As a safety precaution, WSDOT shifted bridge traffic to the north and restricted trucks from using the bridge until it was repaired.
Bridge preservation experts reviewed the damage last week and determined that repairing the girders will keep the 56-year-old bridge safe and serviceable. There is no need to replace any girders at this time.
“The southernmost girder has damage to the post tension cables, where the other two just have concrete damage,” said Mike London, WSDOT bridge supervisor. “In 1996 we did a retrofit on that southernmost girder, which makes it stronger than it would normally be, so we’re able to repair it this time and still keep the bridge structurally sound.”
On Friday and Saturday nights, crews will splice broken cables and patch concrete. Crews will then shift traffic on the 13th Street bridge back to the south and lift the truck restriction.
The 13th Street bridge has a vertical clearance of 14 feet, 8 inches. An over-height detector, located on I-5 nearly a mile to the south, sets off an audible and visual alarm to alert drivers if their loads are too tall to pass underneath the bridge.
The over-height detector was tested on Dec. 31, after the strike, and is operational. It is unknown why the detector was not effective in alerting the driver.