Bridge work slated for the spring
Most likely staying out of the torrential rain storm that caused flooding in low-lying areas of Canby and throughout the region.
Six inches of rain and high winds pounded Canby for about half the week, and asphalt on the Highway 99E bridge on the southeast end of town began peeling off the deck — and it still hasn't been repaired.
And it appears the snow and ice storms that crossed through the Pacific Northwest earlier this year made matters worse.
Don Hamilton, a public information officer (PIO) for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said a waterproof membrane under the asphalt is to blame for the original damage that occurred in Dec. 2015, but that ODOT officials still have not determined why.
"We couldn't get the project finished last year when it was dry, but it will be going out to bid soon and should be completed this spring," Hamilton said.
ODOT crews spent the first weekend of Dec. 2015 patching the pothole on the deck of the bridge and opening the northbound lanes which had previously been closed. ODOT crews were back on the scene Dec. 9 to repair the initial repair job, forcing closure of the northbound lane again. Heavy rains had washed out the pothole patch from the weekend.
Adding to the egg on ODOT's face was the fact that the agency had just completed repaving Highway 99E from SW Berg Parkway west all the way to Second Street in Aurora, which took them right over the Highway 99E bridge.
Kimberly Dinwiddie, also a PIO with ODOT, said that after below-freezing temperatures, like those that occurred in January, and a lot of rain the roadway thaws, which results in it expanding, so areas of pavement already distressed, such as pot holes or ruts, get even worse.
"In the winter months there is very little we can do to repair the roads," she said. "When there is a break in the weather we can get out and apply some patch work but again long-time repair calls for extended periods of dry weather, then we can get pavers out and the pavement trucks moving."
Dinwiddie added that there also was a lot of collateral damage from the recent ice storms — things like lane strips and reflectors came up.
"We also have to sweep the roads after all of the sand we distribute during the storms has to be taken off the road," she said. "There is a lot of work to be done all over the state, and evaluation to learn exactly what has to happen next."
Hamilton said Canby drivers should expect lane closures when work finally begins on the bridge, and that traffic lanes are likely to be relocated as well "for a period of days."
"When work starts there will be some disruption but hopefully we will be able to keep it to a minimum," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get this finished finally and for good."
Hamilton said he could not yet provide details as to the cost of construction to the Highway 99E bridge.
Hamilton previously told the Herald an average of 19,300 vehicles travel over the Highway 99E Molalla River Bridge each day.