When a new bridge is built, there are a few days when big visual changes happen. For the new Sellwood Bridge, May 20, 2016 was one of those days.
By the end of the day, the construction team had installed 13 long concrete girders to complete four spans of the east approach to the bridge. The girders were up to 110 feet long and weighed up to 75,000 pounds each. They were built in Harrisburg, Oregon, then trucked in one day to the Sellwood Bridge. The bridge was closed to traffic while two cranes lifted the girders from trucks on the bridge and gently set them into place on the north columns. The cranes had to move and set up four times to complete the job.
A web of steel cables hung from the end of each girder. Workers standing in a forest of steel rebar on the cap beam of the columns had to untangle the girder cables by hand as the girders were set into place. In a few weeks, the place where they stood will be encased in new concrete.
This section of the new Sellwood Bridge could not be built until part of the detour bridge was removed this spring. Crews will spend the summer adding the deck, sidewalks and parapet wall to the north half of the east approach. This part of the bridge will open to traffic in early fall. All construction on the new Sellwood Bridge is scheduled to be complete in late November.
For more information, visit sellwoodbridge.org.