Siuslaw Bridge upgrade is ahead of schedule

ODOT expects all phases of bridge protection project to be finished in fall of 2018

Jan. 6, 2018 — Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) released the 2017 Bridge Condition Report this week.

ODOT currently manages 2,742 bridges. The report stated that 13.7 percent of Oregon bridges are in good condition, 84.2 percent are in fair condition and 2.1 percent are in poor condition.

The information provided in this year’s report also includes updates on upgrades being conducted across the state. This includes information on the progress of the improvements underway at the Siuslaw River Bridge in Florence.

According to ODOT Region 2 Public Information Officer Angela Beers Seydel, the overall status of the Siuslaw Bridge Protection Project is good.

“The northern half of the bridge is complete and the crews are currently working on the southern half of the bridge. The rail replacement is about three quarters done and crews are currently working on the arches and the northeast section of the bridge,” Beers Seydel said.

The Siuslaw River Bridge project does present some unique challenges, as it is an historical landmark which also serves as an entrance to a functioning port and marina, as well as serving as part of Highway 101.

ODOT also seeks to protect the bridge from the corrosive effects of sea air and river tidal movement.

The name for this aspect of the upgrade is cathodic protection. The muti-phase process is partly completed at this point.

ODOT State Bridge Engineer Bruce Johnson believes cathodic protection is essential to maintaining the Siuslaw River Bridge for the foreseeable future, and, coupled with the other improvements being undertaken, will significantly lengthen the usable life of the structure.

“We are very happy with the work on the Siuslaw Bridge Protection project. All of our projects don’t go as well as this one,” Johnson said. “Our contractor is organized and the major areas of repair work are all progressing quite well. We have fabricated a new rail that resembles the classic design of the previous rail. We are also applying a cathodic protection layer of zinc, which will corrode before the steel of the bridge, helping to protect the structure from the harsh coastal environment.”

Unfortunately, the danger of a catastrophic natural event will still pose an ongoing threat to the residents of Florence. This is mainly because the seismic improvements that are being installed will not totally protect the bridge from a major earthquake.

“ODOT is reinforcing cables and shear blocks to limit bridge movement, but these precautions will not protect the bridge in the event of a major event,” Johnson said. “The cost of installing the complete seismic resilience package is extremely high, so this is a phased set of upgrades that will hopefully prevent the bridge from collapsing in a serious event.”

The completion of the Siuslaw River Bridge Protection was originally scheduled for March 2019, but Beers Seydel and Johnson feel the project’s completion date may now be as early as fall of 2018.

For more information, visit contractor Hamilton Construction at

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