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Life Extension Work on N. Oregon Coast's Astoria-Megler Bridge Over Early

Published 10/07/23 at 5:52 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Astoria, Oregon) – No more traffic delays and certainly no more work up on dizzying heights. Restoration and life-extension work on one of the Oregon coast's most famous bridges is over – and early as well as under budget. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) made the announcement this week, saying work on the Astoria-Megler Bridge was calculated to take well into 2024, but was just recently completed and for a lot less money, according to spokesman David House.

The project was about elongating the life of the 1966-constructed bridge, an icon for the Oregon coast and Washington coast. Estimated to take $24.3 million, it wound up only using $17.5 million after finishing more than a year ahead of schedule.

ODOT is pleased and so are those who worked on the bridge, including Resident Engineer Jayson Buchholz. He called it a “remarkable achievement” to come in under budget so far ahead of time.

This was an undertaking of preservation and stretching its lifespan. House said the Astoria-Megler Bridge needed paint removed, repainting with corrosion-resistant layers underneath, and work on steel structures that were damaged.

“The key to early completion is the contractor, S&K Painting, elected to work year-round rather than take the windy and rainy winter months off,” Buchholz said.

Astoria-Megler Bridge in the '90s

Being in the unpredictable and harsh environment of the Oregon coast presents all sorts of maintenance challenges, which include its massive length at 4.1 miles long. Its enormous height to allow the passage of large ships also creates issues when it comes to the howling winds and battering rains – not to mention salt water. Occasionally, the bridge has to go through major work to keep this vital economic link going.

There is also the issue of migratory birds on the bridge, which presented problems for work there from March through September. Great care was taken not to harm them, House said.

“Innovative measures, including the use of light and sound, were employed to deter birds from the working areas – including Astoria-Megler Bridge cormorant relocation,” House said.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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